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Mullaperiyar

  • Date Submitted: 02/01/2012 11:13 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 48.3 
  • Words: 640
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The issue of Mullaperiyar dam has become a major topic of discussion among media and people. Political parties are also doing their share to keep it alive. The interesting part of the issue is that the rivers Mullayar and Periyar (jointly called Mulla periyar) and also the Dam built on it are within the geographical limits of Kerala State. Yet the controversy exists about the dam and the water in it with the neighbouring State, Tamil Nadu.

It all started years back when the British Government, the then rulers of Madras Presidency (now called Tamil Nadu) approached the Maharaja of Travancore (present Kerala State was formed adding Kochi State and Malabar to Travancore State in 1956) for diverting water from Periyar toVaigai river(flowing within Tamilnadu) for agricultural purposes. It originally started in 1808 when Sir James Caldwell formulated this plan. Later the project was taken up in 1850 by Captain Fabor with more details. The plan was for constructing a small dam across Chinnamooliyar, a small tributary of Periyar, and diverts the water to Vaigai basin through an open canal.
The Madras Government started the work on this dam even without informing the Travancore Government. However the work could not be completed since many workers died due to an infectious disease spread there. Next was an attempt to build an earth dam of height 162 ft. based on a proposal by the District Engineer Major Ryves. The plan was for building a dam across Mullaperiyar and diverts the water into Suruliyar, a tributary of Vaigai River. It also had to be abandoned due to lack of technical expertise for constructing earth dams. Again the proposal was revised with increased height of 175 feet and with a tunnel of 7000 feet length.

During these years the Maharaja of Travancore was being pressurised by the British Government politically. Because of this high and prolonged pressure the Maharaja had to sign the agreement. It is stated that he was so much disturbed mentally in...

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