I am signing this letter to show my strong support for building a new dam at Mullaperiyar. It has been more than 40 years, since the long legal fights, political-regional disputes and arguments began. What have we achieved ? We need an immediate solution and a final decision. We strongly demand the construction of a new Dam at Mullaperiyar.
Mullaperiyar Dam is constructed over the headwaters of the Periyar River in 1895 Kerala, India. It is operated by the Government of Tamil Nadu according to a 999-year lease agreement made during the British colonial rule. The dam was build with using stone and Surki (A mixture of sugar and calcium oxide) and the estimated life span of the dam was 50 years. The dam still holds 443.23 million cubic meter water and the water level is currently maintained at 136 feet.
There is a huge concern over this hundred years old dam as 5 thickly populated districts of Kerala (Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Patthanamthitta) are situated at the downstream. If Mullaperiyar dam fails, it would also pose a threat to a number of downstream dams including the famous Idukki dam (169.16 feet, 2000 M m3 capacity). More than 5million people will be wiped out and all the 5 districts will be under the water completely.
The earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 at Nedumkandam (1988), 4.3 at Wadakkanchery (1994), 5.0 at Periyar basin (2000) and the latest earthquake of magnitudes 3.4 on the Richter scale (18th Nov 2011) at Idukki, clearly justify the views of seismologists that the seismic activity in the regions has recently increased and it is necessary to assess the tectonic behaviour of the region to know the seismic safety of Mulla Periyar, Iddukki and other dams. A study carried out by Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkie, indicates that in the event of an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 on the Richter scale in the vicinity of the dam could wreck the dam.
Many cracks have already appeared at different places in the115-year-old Mullaperiyar dam. Officials of the Kerala Water Resources Department reported that the last tremors have caused major cracks in Block 17 and the joint of Block 17 and 18. The tremors have also caused water seepage through these cracks from the Mullaperiyar reservoir. A minimum of 15 mild tremors have hit the Idukki district, sitting on a faultline, in the past 15 months.
It is high time since an immediate action is taken. The long legal dispute still continues putting 5 million lives at risk. We are not against supplying water to Tamil Nadu or against any claims they have about the dam. But we need a new dam at this site and the old dam should be decommissioned at the earliest.