MULLAPERIYAR DAM (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     30th November 2023        
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Context: Recently, the Supreme Court instructed the Survey of India (SoI) to assess whether a proposed mega car park project in Kerala, near the Mullaperiyar dam area, encroaches upon the land specified in the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement of October 1886.

Mullaperiyar Dam

  • About: It was constructed during 1887-1895 and owned, operated, and maintained by Tamil Nadu Government.
  • Location:  It is located in upper reaches of river Periyar, which flows into Kerala after originating in Tamil Nadu.
  • About the Dispute:

oConstruction: Recently, the dam was constructed based on the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement (1886) for a lease of 999 years.

oHistorical Agreement: An agreement was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India during British rule.

oSafety Concerns: Earlier, the Kerala Government claimed that the dam is unsafe and a threat to people living downstream, advocating for the construction of a new dam.

oTamil Nadu's Perspective: Contrastingly, the Tamil Nadu government denies safety concerns and is utilizing the dam to its full capacity after structural strengthening.

oSupreme Court Directive: The Supreme Court has directed the Supervisory Committee to promptly decide on the maximum water level allowed at Mullaperiyar dam in the midst of heavy rainfall in Kerala.

oPermanent Oversight: In 2014, the SC established a permanent Supervisory Committee to manage all matters related to the Mullaperiyar dam, a longstanding source of tension between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.


Survey of India

  • About: It is the National Mapping Agency (NMA) of the country under Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India.
  • Set up: In 1767 and has evolved rich traditions over the years.
  • Function: Adviser to the Government of India on all survey matters, viz Geodesy, Photogrammetry, Mapping & Map Reproduction.

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