25 Oct 2021 6:47 AM GMT
In the light of concerns expressed about the flood situation in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the supervisory committee of the Mullaperiyar dam on the immediate need to specify the water level. The Court directed the authorities to interact with each other and sought a decision by the committee on the appropriate water level by day after tomorrow.A bench...
In the light of concerns expressed about the flood situation in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the supervisory committee of the Mullaperiyar dam on the immediate need to specify the water level. The Court directed the authorities to interact with each other and sought a decision by the committee on the appropriate water level by day after tomorrow.
A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar has posted the matter to Wednesday(October 27), asking the Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati to get instructions from the committee.
"An issue has been raised that there is an immediate need to specify the water level in the dam.,..if there is immediate need or not, take instructions, understand the anxiety of the parties...the committee has to take a decision, keeping in level the risk factor involved", Justice Khanwilkar orally told the ASG.
The bench was hearing two writ petitions filed by Kerala based parties seeking urgent directions to restrict the water level in the over 120 year old Mullaperiyar dam, which is being managed by the State of Tamil Nadu for drawing water to its districts.
Advocate Wills Mathew, appearing for one of the petitioners, submitted that because of heavy rains last week, the water level has gone up. "Life of 50 lakh people are in danger", he submitted.
Advocate G Prakash, appearing for the State of Kerala, invited the attention of the bench to the order dated 24.08.2018 passed by the Supreme Court during the 2018 floods, fixing the water level as 139 feet during floods. He prayed that a similar order be passed considering the present situation.
Advocate V Krishnamurthy, appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, told the bench that the water level at the dam as on today morning 9 AM is 137.2 feet. He pointed out that as per the judgments delivered by the Supreme Court in 2006 and 2014, Tamil Nadu is entitled to keep the water-level in the dam till 142 feet.
"We don't know what risk factors are involved. Committee needs to decide this. We can't decide water levels. This has to be decided immediately, in a day or two", Justice Khanwilkar observed.
At this point, Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta entered appearance for the State of Kerala, and requested the bench to pass an order directing Tamil Nadu to maintain water level at 137 feet till the next posting date.
In response, the Tamil Nadu's lawyer submitted that the discharge from the dam was greater that the inflow, and that there was less likelihood for rains in the Idukki district as per the IMD forecast for the next 5 days. He further said that the Chief Minister of Kerala has written to the Chief Minister of TN on the issue, and the situation was being closely monitored.
The bench said that the issue of water level can be decided after the opinion of the committee has been received.
"We direct all authorities concerned to interact urgently and Committee to take a decision as to water level to be maintained", the bench ordered.
"Instead of debating here, do something constructive there. Everyone has to work seriously and sincerely. This isn't political arena where you'll debate, its about people's lives. Its due to inaction of one party or other that we have to interfere", Justice Khanwilkar orally observed after the order was dictated.
Recently, one of the petitioners brought on record before the court the study report of n international body, "United Nations University-Institute for Water, Environment and Health", raising alarm about the situation of the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala.
Replying on that report, the petitioners have sought for proper monitoring of the dam, especially in the wake of the flood situation in Kerala.
(Cases : Dr.Joe Joseph and others versus State of Tamil Nadu and others(WP(c) No.880 of 2020), Suraksha Public Charitalbe Trust versus State of Kerala and others (SLP(c) No.3924/2021).
[ MULLAPERIYAR DAM ISSUE] Supreme Court to shortly hear pleas seeking directions for proper monitoring of Mullaperiyar Dam, especially in wake of the flood situation in Kerala& termination of lease deed between States of Kerala & Tamil Nadu in relation to the dam#SupremeCourt pic.twitter.com/BwVjPGwtb1— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) October 25, 2021
[ MULLAPERIYAR DAM ISSUE] Supreme Court to shortly hear pleas seeking directions for proper monitoring of Mullaperiyar Dam, especially in wake of the flood situation in Kerala& termination of lease deed between States of Kerala & Tamil Nadu in relation to the dam#SupremeCourt pic.twitter.com/BwVjPGwtb1