Mullaperiyar: The dam of politics

Mullaperiyar is a dam built over river Periyar in Idukki, Kerala. Even though the dam is in Kerala it is operated by Tamil Nadu, on the basis of a baseless 999 year contract between the defunct governments of Madras Presidency and Tranvancore. It is baffling that even though both parties are not in power now, the agreement is still on. The water from the dam flows to river Vaigai in Tamil Nadu and is used for irrigation in four Tamil Nadu districts.
The dam was built in 1895 and was predicted to stand a period of 50 years from construction. One must credit the British for making the dam stand for more than double its life. But each day from now is like a dangerous dagger following to stab you from behind. It has been 116 years since the dam was constructed, and it should supply water to Tamil Nadu for another 883 years! Since Idukki is the most quake prone district in Kerala, the risk factor is much higher in the case of Mullaperiyar. Already there is enough number of cracks on the walls of the dam, and each day more and more new cracks surface on it.
Kerala has been demanding the construction of another dam on its own, and continuing with the agreement which instructs it to continue supplying water to Tamil Nadu. But Tamil Nadu has been opposing to the idea of rebuilding the dam or constructing a new dam for it may take years for its completion. It is true that water availability can cause serious problems in the four districts of Tamil Nadu, but it is even more serious to play with the lives of people in four districts of Kerala. It is the duty of the government of Kerala to ensure the safety of its people. It is predicted that a quake of intensity 4 on the Richter scale can break the dam and can inundate four Kerala districts completely causing one of the greatest disasters in history.
Incumbents of Kerala government are trying to get national attention to this case, by meeting the centre every now and then and pleading for the construction of a new dam. That brought no mercy and luck other than oral considerations. Tamil Nadu has been showing its insane face and has been busy falsifying facts and passing statements full of twisted explanations. Its political parties, leaders, and celebrities are standing strong to kill the innocent people of Kerala. But on the other side, despite the uproars from the common people, no party, politician, or celebrity is willing to take some action against this inhuman stand of Tamil Nadu. A one-line statement of a celebrity is more powerful than the loud cry of a common man. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened here. Our parties are now trying to cause more problems to our own people by conducting strikes and hartals in our districts. These morons must be turfed out first. They should show their virility to the hostile state and not to their own people!
Already Idukki faced a few quakes this month, and there are predictions of other quakes in the near future. Kerala must follow its own ways to curb the potential disaster by ignoring everything else, and concentrating only on the welfare of its people. I don’t believe in any democracy or law that have its eyes wilfully shut. Do it NOW and show the grit to fight the case LATER in the Supreme Court.
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9 responses to Mullaperiyar: The dam of politics

  1. Mullaperiyar is a dam built over river Periyar in Idukki, Kerala. Even though the dam is in Kerala it is operated by Tamil Nadu, on the basis of a baseless 999 year contract between the defunct governments of Madras Presidency and Tranvancore. It is baffling that even though both parties are not in power now, the agreement is still on. The water from the dam flows to river Vaigai in Tamil Nadu and is used for irrigation in four Tamil Nadu districts.

    The dam was built in 1895 and was predicted to stand a period of 50 years from construction. One must credit the British for making the dam stand for more than double its life. But each day from now is like a dangerous dagger following to stab you from behind. It has been 116 years since the dam was constructed, and it should supply water to Tamil Nadu for another 883 years! Since Idukki is the most quake prone district in Kerala, the risk factor is much higher in the case of Mullaperiyar. Already there is enough number of cracks on the walls of the dam, and each day more and more new cracks surface on it.

    Kerala has been demanding the construction of another dam on its own, and continuing with the agreement which instructs it to continue supplying water to Tamil Nadu. But Tamil Nadu has been opposing to the idea of rebuilding the dam or constructing a new dam for it may take years for its completion. It is true that water availability can cause serious problems in the four districts of Tamil Nadu, but it is even more serious to play with the lives of people in four districts of Kerala. It is the duty of the government of Kerala to ensure the safety of its people. It is predicted that a quake of intensity 4 on the Richter scale can break the dam and can inundate four Kerala districts completely causing one of the greatest disasters in history.

    Incumbents of Kerala government are trying to get national attention to this case, by meeting the centre every now and then and pleading for the construction of a new dam. That brought no mercy and luck other than oral considerations. Tamil Nadu has been showing its insane face and has been busy falsifying facts and passing statements full of twisted explanations. Its political parties, leaders, and celebrities are standing strong to kill the innocent people of Kerala. But on the other side, despite the uproars from the common people, no party, politician, or celebrity is willing to take some action against this inhuman stand of Tamil Nadu. A one-line statement of a celebrity is more powerful than the loud cry of a common man. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened here. Our parties are now trying to cause more problems to our own people by conducting strikes and hartals in our districts. These morons must be turfed out first. They should show their virility to the hostile state and not to their own people!

    Already Idukki faced a few quakes this month, and there are predictions of other quakes in the near future. Kerala must follow its own ways to curb the potential disaster by ignoring everything else, and concentrating only on the welfare of its people. I don't believe in any democracy or law that have its eyes wilfully shut. Do it NOW and show the grit to fight the case LATER in the Supreme Court.

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  2. Girish Nair

    Towards the beginning of your article, you are sighting a link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mullaperiyar_Dam. But, in the linked page it says the lease agreement expired once India got independence. The agreement was renewed in 1970. The water from the referred dam is not just used for irrigation purposes, but also for generating electricity.

    Do you have any estimates on the number of lives in Tamil Nadu, which get affected in case of a failure to the structure? Is only 3.5 Million lives in Kerala in danger? No, impact on the Tamil nadu side?

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  3. @Girish: But the article also has the following information – On 29 October 1886, a lease indenture for 999 years was made between Maharaja of Travancore, Vishakham Thirunal and Secretary of State for India for Periyar irrigation works. The lease agreement was signed by Dewan of Travancore V Ram Iyengar and State Secretary of Madras State (under British rule) J C Hannington. 🙂 I have written that the water is being used for irrigation (not ONLY irrigation) 🙂

    The indirect impact on the lives of the people of Kerala would be huge. If the dam breaks, irrigation in those districts will be affected, which in turn will affect Kerala again, as we are a consumer state. 🙂

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  4. sankar

    What has changed in the Idukki area that has made the dam suddenly dangerous?. What is causing all this panic as if an earth quake is imminent?. Idukki is an earthquake prone area, so has any studies been done on the recent earthquakes in Idukki and its effect on the dam?. What about the other dams in Idukki, what kind of evaluations has been done on those dams to ensure they are safe from earth quakes.
    To be honest, It is hard to believe all that is coming from our state about a dam that has been in existence for 100 plus years.

    Sankar – originally from Thiruvananthapuram City.

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  5. Sankar: Put aside all the guesses and politically driven thoughts. The dam was predicted to have a life of 50 years and it has survived for more than double its life. Isn't it foolish to trust in the strength of the dam for the time to come? It is already leaking through multiple channels.

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  6. Sateesh: You seem to appear much genuine but you commented only on the posts which had some Tamil element! 🙂 This post is not written for slinging muds against any leader, be it in Kerala or Tamil Nadu. Roorkee IIT had done a comprehensive study on the safety of the dam and their report substantiates what this post tries to express. Idukki district is a highly quake prone area, and any quake of intensity ~6 can damage the dam. Moreover, some tests were done to study the strength of the dam a few weeks back. Even after digging several feets into the walls, no evidence of surkhi mortar was obtained. And the Centre does not take an anti-Tamil Nadu decision in this case. Everyone, including you and me, knows the reason for that.

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  7. //Roorkee IIT had done a comprehensive study//
    Please correct your understanding. It is not IIT Roorkee, it is a Malayali prof working in IIT-R. It is not the official statement of IITR. If so, please let me know the facts with proof.

    //Everyone, including you and me, knows the reason for that.// Center is silent, just becas COngress is rulling in KL. You can not say that 'does not take an anti-Tamil Nadu decision'

    I hope you have gone thru the link I have provided which clearly says the legal proceedings in this case. If you do not have time to read and understand that, I do not expect any reply for this comment from you.

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  8. Sateesh: You talked nothing about the recent studies which could not dig out any surkhi mixture from the walls even after going very deep into it. In your case, what I feel is, it is easier to wake up someone who is sleeping, but not someone who is feigning to be sleeping.

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