NEW DELHI : A fresh row related to Mullaperiyar dam has erupted between Kerala, where the dam is situated, and Tamil Nadu, the custodian of the dam. The controversy is over felling of trees downstream the baby dam, which is part of the 126-year-old Mullaperiyar dam. On November 5, 2021, Kerala granted Tamil Nadu permission to cut down 15 trees, but the decision was frozen two days later in the wake of fears that such a move would impair the interests of Kerala in the long-pending inter-state dispute.
The baby dam The Mullaperiyar dam comprises the main dam, a baby dam, an earthen dam and the spillway. While the length of the main dam is 1200 ft, the baby dam is 240 ft long. The full reservoir level of the on the Mullaperiyar issue. Tamil Nadu has been seeking forest clearance, mainly permission for felling trees, from Kerala as part of carrying out measures to strengthen the dam. Although the dam is controlled by Tamil Nadu, the permission for felling trees has to be granted by Kerala, where the dam is situated.
Permission to cut trees The Tamil Nadu Water Resources Department had urged Kerala to cut down 23 trees downstream of the baby dam. The Kerala Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Chief Wildlife Warden issued an order a few days ago, on November 5, granting permission to cut down 15 trees. Next day, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin wrote to his Kerala counterpart, expressing gratitude for the step. “This long pending request was crucial to strengthen the baby dam and the earthen dam, and this permission would enable us to initiate steps for strengthening these structures,’’ a statement quoted Stalin as saying in the letter.