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Mullaperiyar dam case

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    23rd Mar, 2021

Supreme Court adjourns hearing in Mullaperiyar Dam case.

Context

Supreme Court adjourns hearing in Mullaperiyar Dam case.

About

  • Mullaperiyar dam issue is between two south Indian States is between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • The dam belongs to the state of Kerala but it was given on lease to Tamil Nadu.
  • The disputed state that is Tamil Nadu depends on the water of the Periyar River in fulfilling its needs in agriculture and basic needs therefore they are asking to raise the water level of the dam.
  • In this dispute, Kerala is not opposing giving more water but it opposes providing more water to Tamil Nadu because there is a threat to 119 years old dam by raising the water level to a higher extent.
  • The dam is also declared as endangered construction and any further addition into the water pressure may result in the collapse of the dam.

History of Mullaperiyar Dam

Provisions for the Distribution of Water in the Indian Constitution

  • The relevant provisions of the Indian Constitution are:
    • Entry 17 in the State List,
    • Entry 56 in the Union List, and
    • Article 262
  • On 29 October 1886, a lease agreement for 999 yrs was made between the Maharaja Travancore, Viakham, Thirunal Rama Varma, and the British Secretary of state for India for Periyar irrigation work.

  • The lease agreement granted full right, power, and liberty to the secretary of state for India to construct.
  • After independence in 1947, the Kerala government said that the earlier agreement signed between British Raj and Travancore was invalid and needed to be renewed.

Committees Appointed To Look Into the Issue

  • Supervisory Committee
    • A three-member supervisory committee was appointed by the center and the Supreme Court in 2006 which was headed by a senior Central Water Commission (CWC) officer.
    • The commission consisted of one representative each from both the states.
    • It was constituted to make periodic visits to inspect the dam before and after the monsoon and to supervise the safety of the dam.
    • The committee was empowered to oversee the repair work and allowed to take the required necessary safety measures for the benefit of both the states and the dam.
  • S. Anand committee
    • It was set up by the Supreme Court in 2010 during an argument in Tamil Nadu’s suit questioning the law enacted by Kerala to restrict the water level of the dam to 136ft.
    • The committee was constituted to look into the dispute and prepare a report within six months.
    • The committee was mandated to study all the aspects of the 119 yrs old dam including its safety.
    • Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government also requested to scrap the idea of the formation of a new committee which the Supreme Court refused to do.

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