The sudden and excess release of water from Mullaperiyar Dam by Tamil Nadu led to the devastating floods in Kerala, the Pinarayi Vijayan government told the Supreme Court on Thursday. In its response to a petition seeking reduction of water level at the Mullaperiyar Dam, the Kerala Government, told the apex court that the excess release from Mullaperiyar Dam caused an overload situation in Idukki reservoir and water had to be released.
Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose said that the Kerala government had suggested Tamil Nadu to gradually release water from Mullaperiyar dam when its level was 136 feet. The suggestion, however, was not accepted. He said the Kerala government again made the same suggestion when the water level reached 139 feet.
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Tamil Nadu, however, asserted that it had released water on August 16, nearly a week after the flooding started in Kerala. Tamil Nadu is also likely to contend that it has a permission from the apex court to store water up to 142 feet.
Kerala has been facing the massive flooding since August 8. The worst floods in a century have caused the state a damage to the tune of nearly Rs 20,000 crore. So far, over 350 people have lost their lives and lakhs rendered homeless.
In the Affidavit, the Pinarayi Vijayan government also informed the apex court that the flooding has directly affected over 54 lakh people and left as many as 13 lakh taking shelter at relief camps. Nearly half of the states 1,564 villages spreading across 13 of the 14 districts were marooned in flood waters.
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The Mullaperiyar dam, located in Kerala but operated by Tamil Nadu under an 1886 pact between the British and the Maharaja of Travancore, has long been an issue of contention between the states.