The Supreme Court on Friday required the National Crisis Management Committee to consider reducing the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam below the 139 feet mark.
In the wake of the floods in Kerala, the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra directed the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to adhere to the said committee’s recommendations for Full Reservoir Level(FRL) management and rehabilitation.
The bench was informed of the plan of the sub-committee under section 9 of the Disaster Management Act of 2005 to decrease the water level in the Mullaperiyar reservoir feet-by-feet in a phased manner.
"It need not be over emphasized to state that this Court is not an expert to issue any kind of guidelines to manage a situation of the present nature that had been taken note of by this Court in the order passed yesterday i.e. 16th August, 2018. However, we suggest that the Sub-Committee constituted under Section 9 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the National Crises Management Committee (NCMC) and the Committee constituted on the basis of the directions issued by the Constitution Bench of this Court in State of Tamil Nadu vs. State of Kerala and Another (2014) 12 SCC 696, can hold consultative meetings bearing two purposes in mind, namely, to explore the possibility of bringing down the water level at least to 139 feet and secondly, measures should be taken while releasing water from the dam to ensure that down stream inhabitants of that area are not affected".
On Thursday, the apex court had required the sub-Committee to urgently meet with the Kerala and Tamil Nadu state authorities over the management of the Mullaperiyar reservoir water, directing a report to be submitted by Friday morning.
Chief Justice Misra had urged that the water level be tried to be maintained at 139 feet.
In view of the raging floods in Kerala and the level of water in the Mullaperiyar dam rising menacingly, a resident of Mullaperiyar in Kerala, Russel Joy, has knocked the doors of the Supreme Court seeking announcement of Disaster Management Plan and constant monitoring of water levels by State of Tamil Nadu.
It has been submitted that the state of Tamil Nadu has risked the life of many people in the downstream of the dam when it insisted that the water needs to cross the 142 feet mark before taking any action despite seeing the current state of affairs due to this unprecedented natural calamity in Kerala and efforts to contain the loss of life and property. It may be noted that in 2014, in State of Tamil Nadu v. State of Kerala, the apex court had required the Full Reservoir Level of the dam to be restored to the elevation of 142 feet.
The petitioner has contended that the release of water from the Mullaperiyar Dam at the whims and fancies of the State of Tamil Nadu for extraneous reasons is a threat to the life to the petitioner and many others in the downstream.