CHENNAI: The Supreme Court-constituted expert panel to study the safety of Mullaiperiyar Dam has overstepped its brief in making suggestions for resolving the inter-state issue, Tamil Nadu PWD Senior Engineers Association (TANSEA) observed on Monday.
“The AS Anand Committee was only asked to report on whether the dam was safe or not. It did not have any business making recommendations to Kerala to build another dam,” TANSEA secretary A Veerappan, said addressing a press conference here.
Members of TANSEA, a body of retired senior PWD engineers, noted that the “unsolicited” suggestion could unnecessarily prolong the issue.
“In the presence of the report of the earlier committee led by Dr BK Mittal, this (committee) should not have been constituted in the first place. Any review of the 2006 judgement, delivered by a three-judge bench, can only be taken up by a four-judge bench, and this has not been done,” fumed Veerappan.
Bores Drilled by Panel May Weaken Dam
The panel, headed by Justice AS Anand, had bored into the dam at eight spots to test its safety, but failed to take steps to have them filled in after the tests, TANSEA members alleged. If not filled soon, the bores could weaken the structure, they said.
The six-inch bores were between 130 to 190 feet in depth. While the drilling could not have impacted the safety of the structure, in the long run, they could lead to structural stress, said the senior engineers, some of whom have served at the dam in the past.
Kerala can cite this weakening of the structure to demolish the dam. “We know that the Kerala government is intent on breaking the dam,” said RVS Vijayakumar, former PWD Chief Engineer.
Others at the press conference said the storage level at the dam would routinely reach 150 ft before 1979, when the 136 ft limit came into force.
“Water has even overflowed over the top of the dam in 1940 and 1943. There was neither damage to the dam nor its surroundings,” said A Natarajan, who has served at the dam for two years.