New Delhi, Oct 10 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu government has told the Supreme Court that the sub-committee meant to supervise the safety and other aspects, including water levels, in the Mullaperiyar dam has been doing its job properly.
The apex court had sought a reply from the state government on a plea filed by Joe Joseph in which he expressed apprehensions that there was lack of supervision of safety in the over-a-century-old dam.
In an affidavit, filed through advocate M Yokesh Kanna, the Tamil Nadu government said the plea alleging that it has abdicated its duties was 'wholly misconceived'.
'The prayer proceeds on an erroneous assumption that the Sub-Committee constituted by the Supervisory Committee amounts to abdication of duties by the Supervisory Committee, constituted pursuant to the directions of this court judgment dated May 07, 2014 … is wholly untenable,' the affidavit said.
The affidavit said the sub-committee is chaired by the executive engineer of the Central Water Commission (CWC) and has members from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The sub-committee inspects the dam, collects data and gives details to the supervisory committee.
'The sub-committee members do not have any powers to give direction to the states. It is only doing the job of collecting information and data pertaining to the dam once in every two months, and if required, more frequently, as per directions of the chairman of the supervisory committee, and furnishing the same to the committee,' the affidavit said.
The contention that there has been inordinate delay in finalising and implementing the Rule Curve and Gate Operation Schedule on the Mullaperiyar dam is wholly misplaced, it said.
'The answering respondent states that the operation of the spillway gates during flood time was framed long back during the year 1974, vide… As per the procedure then laid down, based on long experience, before operating the spillway gates during flood time, warning would be issued well in advance to the downstream authorities concerned of the State of Kerala before releasing water through the spillway,' it said.
'The answering respondent ensures and takes care that no release is made without any warning, and sudden releases are not made through the spillway. The releases are made in steps so as not to cause any problem to the people who are living downstream of the dam. Thus, it is submitted that Gate operation procedure was available for long,' it added.
Before operating the spillway gates during flood time, warning would be issued well in advance to the downstream authorities concerned before releasing water through the spillway, the affidavit said.
Tamil Nadu ensured that no water is released without any warning, and sudden releases are not made through the spillway, it said, adding that 'the releases are made in steps so as not to cause any problem to the people who are living downstream of the dam'.
'The supervisory committee duly assisted by the sub-committee are monitoring the system with reference to all safety aspects of the dam,' the affidavit said.
The top court, in 2006, had permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the storage level of Mullaperiyar dam up to 142 ft. It had also permitted Tamil Nadu to carry out further strengthening measures as suggested by CWC and had hoped that Kerala would cooperate in the matter.
'The State of Kerala and its officers are restrained from causing any obstruction. After the strengthening work is complete to the satisfaction of CWC, independent experts would examine the safety angle before the water level is permitted to be raised to 152 ft,' the apex court had said. PTI SJK ABA MNL SNE SNE