Thiruvananthapuram: As a flood warning was issued in areas downstream Mullaperiyar dam, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Friday expressed concern over safety of people and urged Tamil Nadu government to reduce water level which is nearing the contentious 142-foot mark.
The two states are locked in a dispute over the century-old dam in Idduki District of Kerala and under the control of Tamil Nadu, whose water level touched 140 feet today, prompting officials to issue the first flood warning to people living downstream.
Officials in border district of Theni in Tamil Nadu said Collectors of the district and Idukki had been alerted about the flood warning.
Expressing concern over the safety of people living downstream, Chandy in a letter to his Tamil Nadu counterpart O Panneerselvam said, the water level could be reduced by diverting the excess waters to Vaigai Reservoir as was done in previous years.
"It is true that our two states have differences of opinion regarding the safety aspects of the dam. The present situation demands prudent action on your part to allay fears of people living in downstream of the Mullaperiyar", Chandy said.
The water level in the dam had been rising above 136 feet in the last two weeks and and has touched 139.50 feet. This was mainly due to drastic reduction in withdrawal of water to Vaigai Reservoir in Tamil Nadu in spite of its capacity to store more than three tmc of water, he said.
The two states have been at loggerheads over increasing the water level in the dam, which irrigates five southern districts in Tamil Nadu, from 136 feet to 142 feet with Kerala objecting to it on grounds of safety of the structure.
The Supreme Court in May last had allowed Tamil Nadu to raise the level to 142 feet, rejecting Kerala's objections.