Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Why Tamil Nadu Fears a New Dam at Mullaperiyar

Vellore, my home for the last two years in Tamil Nadu lies on the bank of Palar River. This river originates from Karnataka and after flowing for 93 km, enters Andhra Pradesh where it flow for 33 kms and then flows through Tamil Nadu for 222 kms. River Palar has no water for the entire stretch it flows through Tamil Nadu - the reason, being the construction of so many check dams in 33 km stretch in Andhra Pradesh. (I was told by farmers that there are 30 check dams in 33 km stretch in Andhra Pradesh). 
Being specialized in Water/Wastewater Treatment I often get to meet with people residing on the banks of Palar river in Tamil Nadu side. They narrate their struggles for clean drinking water and water to irrigate their crops. They have lost all hopes as they know that neither Tamil Nadu government nor Supreme Court is going to help them. Majority of them no longer depends on agriculture for their livelihood and also excess sand mining and dumping of pollutants from leather industry has made pure drinking water a scare resource for the people along the Palar belt. 
Why am I talking about Palar now? Palar and Cauvery are the two interstate rivers that flow into Tamil Nadu from Andra Pradesh and Karnataka respectively. Palar has gone dry and Tamil Nadu is at the mercy of Karnataka government for Cauvery water. Water from Mullaperiyar dam is the only interstate water on which Tamil Nadu government has full control now. It is quite obvious, from the past experience with Cauvery river and Palar river, that Tamil Nadu government and its people fear that once a new dam is constructed and Kerala government takes control of it, they may be deprived of water by the Kerala government. What happens if the Kerala government at that time, after the construction of a new dam, suddenly decides not to give water to Tamil Nadu? The bitter experiences of the past have made the Tamil Nadu government and people not rely any more on promises. 
I feel for any amicable solution to Mullaperiyar dam issue, the existing “feeling of betrayal” sense prevailing with the Tamil Nadu government as well with the public of Tamil Nadu needs to be addressed. They have a feeling that they are constantly betrayed by their neighbors with regard to water sharing. 
Kerala wanted to protect the people living downstream of the dam in case the existing dam fails and Tamil Nadu wants continuous supply of water. Let a new dam be constructed under Tamil Nadu’s supervision and let Tamil Nadu be given full control of it after it is constructed. Can’t this solve the Mullaperiyar dam issue forever?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that Tamilnadu is struggling to meet their water needs and this is one of the many solutions, which does not require a trusted relationship. And what you are suggesting is that, it is ok, Tamilnadu cannot trust Kerala and somehow Kerala has to trust Tamilnadu and allow building a Dam in its soil... Sounds like I building a barrier in your home and owns and decides who can do what. Is it fair?

February 01, 2012 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Subhash BP said...

There should not be any doubt about the ownership of the dam. Let the control wrest with a trilateral team jointly with the Center and TN.
There can be many complications if the ownership of the dam wrests with TN.

TN already knows a new dam has to replace the aging weak dam. Now they want the ownership of the new dam. There is no harm in giving an assured quantity of water as it is receiving now. This can be ensured.

February 02, 2012 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Bijumon Thomas said...

Any Structural Expert will tell you if the structure has inherent weakness will come down with or without any notice the next day if not the next moment. It does not need an iota of assumptions & presumptions either positive or negative from a layman or even of an expert IITian. Why our politicians do not understand this as a basic problem with a fundamental entities in a business of serving the people. There are many structures older than this. Also suppose, age of a patient even by the best of the Global Doctor's be assessed and defines as say 25years for any reason, it does not mean he should leave this beautiful world at the end of 25th year because of his certification. But by appropriate medication and strengthening the same its likely, his chance to survive more can always be exploited.. If the Doctor wants and insist to hang for certifying his certificate then it's a different case..

May 06, 2012 4:24 PM  

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