The Kerala high court on Wednesday directed the state government to file a written statement within 48 hours on the disaster management steps being taken anticipating threat to the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam.
A Division bench directed Advocate General K P Dhandapani, to file a written statement in the court in this regard when three petitions with regard to the safety of the dam came up.
The AG informed the bench that the state cabinet had met today and decided to ask Tamil Nadu to reduce the water level of Mullaiperiyar dam.
The government had also decided to bring down water level of the three other dams-- Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu. Power generation will be increased at Idukki, he said.
The government also decided to convene an assembly session in the first week of December to discuss the matter, he said.
Apparently not satisfied with the AG's replies, the bench said it wanted to know the steps being taken to alert people and the safety measures being planned by the government.
When the AG sought 48 hours to give a written statement in this regard, the bench, comprising Acting Chief justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon, wanted to know if it was really needed.
One of the pleas included seeking a direction to Idukki Collector to take immediate steps for draining water from Mullaiperiyar dam and three other nearby dams. The petitioner, advocate Rajamannar, had also sought construction of internal chambers and compartments in the four dams for safety.
Another plea was by K Krishnankutty, former MLA, seeking a direction to Kerala Dam safety Authority to immediately start exercising powers and duties with respect to Mullaiperiyar dam, conduct inspection and issue direction to state government to ensure the dam's safety and to prevent any damage to it.
He also sought a declaration that Kerala Dam Safety Authority's failure to perform its statutory function was liable to be declared illegal.
While Kerala is arguing for construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar in place of the existing one, Tamil Nadu is against it, saying it would deprive water for irrigation to five districts of the state.