Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 18 May 2022 9.16 AM IST

When will we have a solution for this?


No one should have to lose his or her life to draw the attention of the government to any popular issue that needs to be addressed urgently in India. The reason for saying this is the Mullaperiyar Dam which has been disturbing the people of Kerala for quite some time. Authorities had to open the dam several times in the last few weeks. It is natural for the water level in the dam to rise dangerously when it is raining heavily. When that happens, there is no other option but to open the shutters of the dam. However, it is imperative that people living along the coasts of the Periyar river be given an adequate warning when water is thus released. This warning is intended to facilitate the safe relocation of these people. However, Tamil Nadu has been continuing to release water from the dam without giving adequate warning to the people. As a result, more than 300 families were stranded for days. Last Monday night, 12654 cubic feet of water was released out of the dam every second. The shutters have been left open every day for the past two weeks. The only difference is in the amount of water being released out. People's lives are in dire straits due to the wrongdoing of Tamil Nadu and the negligence of the Kerala government. The government does not seem to be taking the matter seriously, even though 300 families have been facing difficulties for days. It has to be suspected whether governments are waiting for anyone to be swept away in the floods.

Tamil Nadu has sought permission from the Supreme Court to maintain the water level at the dam at 142 feet. In the Mullaperiyar case, Kerala has suffered setbacks for years. We have not been able to effectively present or obtain a favourable order on the security threat posed by the dam, which is more than a century old, and the dangers posed to the state by it.

Kerala still needs to learn to meet the challenge of Tamil Nadu on the Mullaperiyar issue. Kerala does not have any mechanisms in place to even intervene immediately in the event of a safety issue related to the dam. There is no Mullaperiyar Cell or Advisory Committee for consultation. In case of an issue, all that Kerala do is to write a letter to Tamil Nadu and wait for the action. Although MPs and MLAs were seen protesting at an individual level, they have not been able to come together for the state by keeping politics aside. It is this approach of our politicians that has been helping Tamil Nadu.

The only way before the Kerala government is to seek all possible means of getting the Supreme Court to approve the state's position that the new dam is the permanent solution to the Mullaperiyar issue. The state should argue for this in the Supreme Court. Kerala should hold talks with Tamil Nadu and convince them that they will continue to get water even when the new dam comes up. With the end of this monsoon season, the water level in the dam will drop. Fear of floods will soon subside. However, this will be repeated during the next monsoon. People of Kerala are praying that both states discuss the matter and figure out a solution that will be acceptable to both sides.

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