Chennai: A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the Centre’s submission that the sub-committee of the Mullaiperiyar dam had met on 23 August and directed the Tamilnadu government to ensure that the water level is maintained at 139 feet, which is two feet below the permissible limit fixed by the apex court.
The written statement from the Tamilnadu counsel stated, “Tamilnadu cannot accept blame for the flooding in Kerala. Only Kerala is responsible for the flood. From 14 to 19 August, 36.28 tmc ft water was released by the Kerala government from Idukki and Idamalayar dams. This was the major cause for flooding.”
To augment its case, the Tamilnadu petition carried a day-to-day data of the amount of water released from the Mullaiperiyar and Idukki dams. It said, “When the water level in the Mullaiperiyar dam reached 140 feet on 15 August, 1.24 tmc ft water was released by us into the Idukki reservoir. But, the Kerala government released 13.79 tmc ft water from the Idukki dam on the same date.”
“On 16 August, we released 2 tmc ft water from Mullaiperiyar. But Kerala released 4.47 tmc ft from Idukki,” it stated.
Seeking more time along with Karnataka to file its reply, the Tamilnadu government told the Supreme Court that a ‘sinister drama’ was being played by the Kerala government to make the Supreme Court re-assess its earlier order and reduce the water storage levels of Mullaiperiyar below 142 feet.
“The release of water from Mullai Periyar dam was not the cause for floods in Kerala. Their government is raising false allegations to make us reduce the water level of Mullaiperiyar dam below 142 feet,” Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said today after Kerala filed a petition in the Supreme Court accusing its southern neighbour as the cause for the flooding in districts like Idukki, near the Periyar river.
“There is no truth in Kerala government’s petition,” the Chief Minister said, escalating the blame game after Kerala first accused Tamilnadu saying that flooding was triggered by the sudden release of water from the Mullaiperiyar dam.
Blaming Kerala government’s inefficiency as the sole cause for flooding, Palaniswami said, “The excess water released by the Kerala government from multiple dams at the same time is the reason for flooding.”
The Tamilnadu government also filed a reply petition today in the Supreme Court, supporting statements made by the Chief Minister.
The Supreme Court bench made it clear that it would confine itself to the aspect of disaster management and said the decision to lower the water limit in the dam has been taken in view of the devastating deluge in Kerala.
The bench fixed the matter for hearing 6 September and asked Kerala, Puducherry, Tamilnadu and Karnataka to file their responses in the meantime.