Thiruvananthapuram: The preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a new dam at Mullaperiyar by the Kerala Government has reached the final stage though Tamil Nadu is opposed to any such move.
The new DPR will be submitted to the Central Water Commission in December. The cost for the new dam is pegged at around Rs.1,500 crore. Kerala started preparing the DPR after the Supreme Court of India gave nod for conducting inspection at the dam for studying the feasibility of constructing a new dam.
The design worked out earlier would be completely changed. All the works related to the construction of the dam are currently being coordinated by the Irrigation Design and Research Board (IDRB) functioning under the State Irrigation Department.The DPR is being prepared by taking into account the suggestions put forward by the Central Water Commission.
TN for bolstering old dam :
Tamil Nadu has been objecting to the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar for the last many years. Though the Kerala Government prepared a DPR in 2011, the work could not be initiated due to the objections raised by Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is taking a tough stand that only the strengthening of the existing dam is needed and a new dam is not required.
The DPR for the new dam was prepared in 2011 with an expected cost of Rs 600 crore. It was proposed to construct it in four years. Kerala then completed soil tests in a time-bound manner. But the construction work was stalled when Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court of India with a set of objections.Though the Supreme Court suggested that the new dam could be constructed by Kerala with the concurrence of Tamil Nadu, the neighbouring State did not give permission to Kerala to construct the new dam.But it is expected the Kerala Government may go ahead with the construction plans by taking into consideration the apprehensions of the general public about the safety of the existing dam.
A recent report, 'Ageing Water Storage Infrastructure: An Emerging Global Risk', linked by an agency linked to the United Nations, states that any danger to Mullaperiyar Dam, could jeopardize the lives of over 35 lakh people.
As social media is agog with debates on the fate of the old dam, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday brushed aside fears of any danger as the water level shot up in it in the wake of heavy rains.
"Legal action will be taken against those who are spreading fake information in the social media with the intention of creating a scare about Mullaperiyar dam, " the Chief Minister told the Assembly. "There is no danger to the dam now," he said.