Mullaperiyar Dam

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mullaperiyar dam is between tamilnadu and kerala states


By: sakirvadgama (56 month(s) ago)

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Mullaperiyar Dam:

Mullaperiyar Dam Y.PRASANTH, 3/4 MECH-B, Roll n o.129, BEC .


contents 1.introduction 2.purpose 4.history 6.interstate dispute 7.enpowering justice A.S.Anand committee 8.conclusion

Introduction: :


Mullaperiyar Dam:

Mullaperiyar Dam

Purpose of dam::

Purpose of dam: The Periyar river which flows westward into the Arabian was diverted eastwards to flow towards the Bay of Bengal to provide water to the arid rain shadow region of Madurai in Madras Presidency which was in dire need of a greater supply than the small Vaigai river could give . The dam created the Periyar Thekkady reservoir, from which water was diverted eastwards to via a tunnel to augment the small flow of the Vaigai River. The Vaigai was dammed by the Vaigai Dam to provide a source for irrigating large tracts around Madurai. Initially the dam waters were used only for the irrigation of 68,558 ha (169,411 acres ).

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Currently, the water from the Periyar (Thekkady) Lake created by the dam, is diverted through the water shed cutting and a subterranean tunnel to Forebay Dam near Kumili (Errachipalam) in Tamil Nadu. From the Forebay dam, hydel pipe lines carry the water to the Periyar Power Station in Lower Periyar, Tamil Nadu. This is used for power generation (175 MW capacity) in the Periyar Power Station.[citation needed] From the Periyar Power Station, the water is let out into Vairavanar river and then to Suruliyar and from Suruliyar to Vaigai Dam .

Design of Dam::

Design of Dam: The Mullaperiyar Dam is a gravity dam made with concrete prepared from limestone and "surkhi" (burnt brick powder), and faced with rubble. Gravity dams use their weight and the force of gravity to support the reservoir and remain stable. The main dam has a maximum height of 53.6 m (176 ft) and length of 365.7 m (1,200 ft). Its crest is 3.6 m (12ft) wide while the base has a width of 42.2 m (138 ft). It consists of a main dam, spillway on its left and an auxiliary dam (or "baby dam") to the right. Its reservoir can withhold 443,230,000 m3 (359,332 acre ft) of water, of which 299,130,000 m3 (242,509 acre ft) is active (live) storage.

Location of mullaperiyar dam:

Location of mullaperiyar dam

Mullaperiyar Dam and its design:

Mullaperiyar Dam and its design


History: The unique idea of harnessing the westward flowing water of the Periyar river and diverting it to the eastward flowing Vagai river was first explored in 1789 by Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai, a minister of the Ramnad king Muthuramalinga Sethupathy , who gave it up as he found it to be expensive . The location of the dam had first been scouted by Captain J. L. Caldwell , Madras Engineers (abbreviated as M.E.) in 1808 Caldwell discovered that the excavation needed would be in excess of 100 feet in depth and the project was abandoned with the comment in his report as "decidedly chimerical and unworthy of any further regard".

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The first attempt at damming the Periyar with an earthen dam in 1850 was given up due to demands for higher wages by the labour citing unhealthy living conditions . The proposal was resubmitted a number of times and in 1862, Captain J. G. Ryves , M.E., carried out a study and submitted proposals in 1867 for another earthwork dam, 62 feet high. Finally in 1882,The construction of the dam was approved and Major John Pennycuick , M.E., placed in charge to prepare a revised project and estimate which was approved in 1884 by his superiors.


Lease: On 29 October 1886 , a lease indenture for 999 years was made between Maharaja of Travancore, Vishakham Thirunal and Secretary of State for India for Periyar irrigation works. The lease agreement was signed by Dewan of Travancore V Ram Iyengar and State Secretary of Madras State (under British rule) J C Hannington. This lease was made after constant pressure on Travancore King by the British for 24 years. In 1947, after Indian Independence, After British India was partitioned in 1947 into India and Pakistan, Travancore and Cochin joined the Union of India and on 1 July 1949 were merged to form Travancore-Cochin. On 1 January 1950 (Republic Day), Travancore-Cochin was recognised as a state. The Madras Presidency was organised to form Madras State in 1947.

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On 1 November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed by the States Reorganisation Act merging the Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin (excluding four southern taluks, which were merged with Tamil Nadu ). The Kerala state government announced that the earlier agreement which had been signed between British Raj and Travancore agreement was invalid and needed to be renewed. After several failed attempts to renew the agreement in 1958, 1960, and 1969, the agreement was renewed in 1970 when C Achutha Menon was Kerala Chief Minister.

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According to the renewed agreement, the tax per acre was increased to 30, and for the electricity generated in Lower Camp using Mullaperiyar water, the charge was 12 per kiloWatt per hour. Tamil Nadu uses the water and the land . Tamil Nadu government has been paying to the Kerala government for the past 50 years 2.5 lakhs as tax per year for the whole land and 7.5 lakhs per year as surcharge for the total amount of electricity generated . The validity of this agreement is under dispute between the States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The matter is currently pending before a Division Bench of the Supreme Court.

Consturction of dam::

Consturction of dam: In May 1887, construction of the dam began. As per "The Military Engineer in India" by Sandes (1935), the dam was constructed from lime stone and "surkhi" at a cost of 104 lakhs, was 173 feet high and 1241 feet in length along the top and enclosed more than 15 thousand million cubic feet of water . The construction involved the use of troops from the 1st and 4th battalions of the Madras Pioneers as well as Portuguese carpenters from Cochin who were employed in the construction of the coffer-dams and other structures . The greatest challenge was the diversion of the river so that lower portions of the great dam could be built. The temporary embankments and coffer-dams used to restrain the river waters were regularly swept away by floods and rains . Due to the coffer dam failures, the British stopped funding the project. Officer Pennycuick raised funds by selling his wife's jewelry to continue the work.

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The Periyar project, as it was then known, was widely considered well into the 20th Century as "one of the most extraordinary feats of engineering ever performed by man". A large amount of manual labour was involved and worker mortality from malaria was high. It was claimed that had it not been for "the medicinal effects of the native spirit called arrack, the dam might never have been finished". 483 people died of diseases during the construction of this dam and were buried on-site in a cemetery just north of the dam.

Interstate dispute::

For Tamil Nadu, the Mullaperiyar dam and the diverted Periyar waters act as a lifeline for Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramnad districts, providing water for irrigation and drinking, and also for generation of power in Lower Periyar Power Station . Tamil Nadu has insisted on exercising its unfettered rights to control the dam and its waters, based on the 1866 lease agreement . Interstate dispute:

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Kerala has pointed out the unfairness in the 1886 lease agreement and has challenged its validity. However, safety concerns posed by the 116-year old dam to the safety of the people of Kerala in the event of a dam collapse, have been the focus of disputes from 2009 onwards . Kerala's proposal for decommissioning the dam and constructing a new one has been challenged by Tamil Nadu . Tamil Nadu is the custodian of the dam and its surrounding areas. In 2006, the Supreme Court of India by its decision by a single bench, allowed for the storage level to be raised to 142 feet (43 m). By considering the weak structure the water level is brought to 132 feet. Kerala's Stance: Kerala did not object giving water to Tamil Nadu. Their main cause of objection is the dams safety as it is as old as 110 years. Increasing the level would add more pressure to be handled by already leaking dam. No masonry dam may survive for 999 years so a new dam may replace the existing one in near future.

Mullaperiyar danger map:

Mullaperiyar danger map

Justice a.s.anand committe:

Justice a.s.anand committe On 18 February 2010, the Supreme Court decided to constitute a five-member empowered committee to study all the issues of Mullaperiyar Dam and seek a report from it within six months . The Bench in its draft order said Tamil Nadu and Kerala would have the option to nominate a member each, who could be either a retired judge or a technical expert. The five-member committee will be headed by former Chief Justice of India A. S. Anand to go into all issues relating to the dam's safety and the storage level. Then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said that immediately after the Supreme Court announced its decision to set up a committee, he had written to Congress president asking the Centre to mediate between Kerala and Tamil Nadu on Mullaperiyar issue .

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However , the then Leader of Opposition i.e., the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa objected to the TN Government move. She said that this would give advantage to Kerala in the issue . Meanwhile, Kerala Water Resources Minister N. K. Premachandran told the state Assembly that the State should have the right of construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of the new dam, while giving water to Tamil Nadu on the basis of a clear cut agreement. He also informed the media that Former Supreme Court Judge Mr. K. T. Thomas will represent Kerala on the expert panel constituted by Supreme Court . On 8 March 2010, Tamil Nadu told the Supreme Court that it was not interested in adjudicating the dispute with Kerala before the special “ enpowered ” committee appointed by the apex court for settling the inter-State issue . However , Supreme Court refused to accept Tamil Nadu's request to scrap the decision to form the empowered committee. The Supreme Court also criticized the Union Government on its reluctance in funding the empowered committee.


CONCLUSION: So why can’t Keralites and Tamilians can go for an amicable solution of A NEW SAFE DAM along with the AGREEMENT OF WATER GURANTEE to Tamilians and DAM SAFETY to the Keralites.

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