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Mullaperiyar dam is safe: SC panel

May 04, 2012 08:32 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: In a setback for Kerala in the Mullaperiyar dam row, the report submitted by the 5-member committee appointed by the Supreme says that the dam is safe. The report vindicates Tamil Nadu's demand to raise the water level in the dam from 136 ft to 142ft. But the report also says the demand for a new dam should be reconsidered as an alternative. Two of the 5 members have given dissenting notes.

Earlier, the Supreme Court permitted Kerala and Tamil Nadu to get copies of the report submitted by the monitoring committee on the Mullaperiyar Dam row.

The five-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice AS Anand also recommended that the water level at the dam, located in Kerala's Idduki district and maintained by Tamil Nadu Public Works Department, can now be raised to 142 ft from the existing 136 ft.

In the report, the committee, which made numerous visits to the site and conducted a slew of tests and surveys, has concluded that the Mullaperiyar Dam structure is safe on each of the "hydrologic, structural and seismic considerations", sources said.

"The Empowered Committee has concluded that the existing Mullaperiyar Dam is safe on each of the hydrologic, structural and seismic considerations. The Empowered Committee, therefore, concludes that the reservoir FRL (Full Reservoir Level) lowered in 1979 to 136 ft can be restored to FRL 142 ft," the sources said, quoting the report.

The committee, that has one each former Supreme Court judges hailing from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, said "in view of the present safety analysis, Empowered Committee concludes that the proposal of the State of Kerala to build a new dam be reconsidered", the sources said.

While Tamil Nadu has been maintaining that the dam was "absolutely safe" and the water level can be raised to 142 ft, Kerala has been vociferous in its demand for a new dam to be built near the existing structure.

The Committee also said that the quakes which occurred near the dam were "small in magnitude, short-lived and sporadic in nature," they quoted the report as saying.

(With additional inputs from PTI)