New Delhi, Aug 17 : Expressing grave concern over the flood “crises” in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Friday suggested that the Disaster Management sub-committee, National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) and the court-appointed committee should meet to explore the possibility of reducing the water-level in the Mullaperiyar Dam reservoir there to 139 feet.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “We are not experts. We are leaving it to the committee… to bring down the water level to 139 feet from 142 feet at the Mullaperiyar Dam”, as the the Centre informed it that the sub-committee has decided to reduce the water level by releasing it.
The bench asked for measures to be in place to see to it that inhabitants downstream were safe before the release of water from the dam.
The court said the idea was to resolve the “calamity, rescue and rehabilitate people” caught in flood.
The bench also asked the Kerala Chief Secretary to file an affidavit on what steps were being taken for disaster management, rescue and rehabilitation of those affected.
The Kerala death toll touched 164 on Friday after incessant rains began there on August 8. A total of 2.23 lakh people have been shifted to relief camps, while thousands still waited to be rescued.
Situation of Kerala flood is being monitored on a “minute-by-minute” basis, Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha told the top court on the Centre’s behalf.
The bench asked Tamil Nadu to “scrupulously” comply with instructions to bring down the water level in the dam.
It then posted the matter for next hearing on August 24.
The court was hearing a PIL filed seeking directions for management of water in the Mullaperiyar Dam reservoir and announcement of a disaster management plan in relation to the dam.
The petition was filed by a Kerala resident Russel Joy who also sought direction for Tamil Nadu to ensure proper management of water release from the dam, so that no harm is caused to people living downstream.
Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and floods witnessed in the state since 1924 which by now have caused massive destruction with damages to crops and properties estimated to be thousands of crores.