Idukki, Nov 5 (UNI): Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister S Duraimurugan, who denied Kerala’s demand for a new dam, on Friday said his state will raise the water level of the 126-year-old Mullaperiyar dam in this district of Kerala to 152 ft.
The Tamil Nadu minister, who visited Mullaperiyar dam along with three other ministers, legislators and a team of top officials from Tamil Nadu, said various committees, formed by the Supreme Court in connection with the dam cases, have submitted their reports that the dam is safe.
“Hence, the demand of the Kerala to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar is irrelevant,” he said.
The water level of the Mullaperiyar dam, managed by Tamil Nadu, can be raised to 152 ft after taking necessary steps to strengthen the Baby Dam, he hoped.
However, the Baby Dam can be strengthened only after removing three trees causing hindrance there. “We raised this issue with the Kerala Government. But we were told that only the Forest Department of Kerala can take a decision on the trees coming under the Reserve Forest. We will take steps to remove the trees,” he added.
To a question on resolving the water disputes between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Duraimurugan, who praised Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as straightforward, hoped that all issues will be sorted out during his tenure.
Lashing out at AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami, Duraimurugan said no Minister from Tamil Nadu visited Mullaperiyar since the last 10 years. The AIADMK has done nothing to protect the rights of farmers getting water from Mullaperiyar dam, he added.
Meanwhile, O Paneerselvam announced that his party will organise agitations in five districts of Tamil Nadu on November 9 protesting against the DMK Government decision to open shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam and releasing water ignoring the interests of farmers in Tamil Nadu.
Earlier on Friday morning, the Tamil Nadu Ministers reached Thekkady in Kerala and later left for Mullaperiyar dam by boat. A large number of DMK workers who also accompanied the ministers were stopped at the Lower Camp by the Tamil Nadu Police.
This was the first time that the Mullaperiyar dam was opened after the 2018 floods in Kerala due to incessant rains.
Earlier, the Kerala government urged Tamil Nadu to limit the water level in the dam at 137 ft. However, the Supreme Court directed to follow the Rule Curve and limit the water level at 139.5 ft till November 11 the day in which the court will take up the case.