No need for second tunnel in Mullaiperiyar dam, TN tells Madras HC – The New Indian Express

Chennai News

By Express News Service

MADURAI: The State government recently told the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that there is no need to construct a second tunnel in Mullaiperiyar Dam and the Supreme Court has not issued any direction for creating a new tunnel. Additional Chief Secretary of Water Resources Department (WRD) Sandeep Saxena said this in a counter affidavit submitted by the TN government in a PIL filed by M Sundararaj of Madurai.

Sundararaj stated in the petition that the Supreme Court, in a judgment dated May 7, 2014, which was passed on a suit filed by the State in 2006, had directed the government to construct a new tunnel in Mullaiperiyar Dam at 50 feet, in addition to old tunnel which is situated at 103 feet. It also told the government to conduct surveys and ascertain the feasibility of constructing the new tunnel within a year, he claimed.

However, Saxena said these  statements of the petitioner were incorrect. He stated that the construction of a second tunnel will not increase the reservoir’s yield as the catchment area remains the same. “A tunnel at the lower level is only a suggestion given by the Member of Kerala in the Empowered Committee and is not a direction by the Supreme Court and it cannot be thrusted upon the State. On the contrary, the decreed judgment has permitted to restore the storage level to 142 ft and after completion of the strengthening measures and review by experts in safety angle, the water level be restored to original Full Reservoir Level (FRL) +152 ft,” he said, adding that  the government is unable to commence the strengthening work at the dam due to the “obstructionist attitude” of Kerala in giving clearance for felling 23 trees downstream of Baby Dam and repairing the approach road. A Bench received the counter affidavit on Friday.