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Monday, November 28, 2011

Mullaperiyar water overflows in Kerala

The Mullaperiyar dam across the Periyar river started overflowing on Sunday after the water level touched the maximum 136-foot limit following heavy rain in its catchment area for the last two days. The excess water is flowing into the Idukki dam.

To avert any untoward situation, the Tamil Nadu Government has requested Kerala to draw more water from the Mullaperiyar dam.

Following the development, Idukki Collector E Devadasan has issued warnings to those residing along the Periyar river. Control rooms have been opened in the Idukki Collectorate and main towns. According to Devadasan, the district administration is geared up to face any eventuality.

Meanwhile, different parts of Kerala witnessed people taking to the streets on Sunday to protest against the deadlock over the construction of a new dam to replace the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam. They burnt the effigy of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and blocked the Kerala-Tamil Nadu highway.

In addition, the ruling United Democratic Front and the opposition Left Democratic Front have called a dawn-to-dusk strike in Idukki district in Kerala on Monday, demanding the intervention of the Union Government into the issue.

While the people of Kerala fear that the Mullaperiyar dam across the Periyar river is on the verge of collapsing, endangering around 3.5 million people, the Tamil Nadu Government which controls the dam is against dismantling the present structure. The dam provides water to four districts in Tamil Nadu.

Hundreds of protesters, including women and children, gathered at Vandiperiyar town near the dam raising slogans against Jayalalitha and Kerala ministers for taking a soft stance on the issue. Vehicular traffic was disrupted.

Meanwhile, E J Bijimol, MLA of the Peermede constituency, has threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike demanding the construction of a new dam.

In Kollam district, protesters burnt the effigy of Jayalalitha and staged a roadblock, disrupting traffic from Kerala to Tamil Nadu through the Theni road. Meanwhile, the Kerala Congress (Mani), a constituent of ruling United Democratic Front, is planning to stage agitations in Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts, demanding the immediate construction of a new dam.

Kerala Irrigation Minister P J Joseph said he wants to organise awareness campaigns in those affected districts of Tamil Nadu.

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