Mullaperiyar Dam: Impending High Range Tsunami

“Who cares about thousands of innocent lives  in the danger zone if Mullaperiyar breaks? The much hyped fourth estate, media is still going nuts over Saritha and the authorities who has to act are still firefighting political issues for their own selfish interest.”

There was a sense of pity, anger and concern in the words of Mr. C.V. Sunny, former Chief Engineer PWD in Kerala and an alumnus of IIT Roorkee, when I expressed my desire for an exclusive interview for to analyse the present situation of  the Mullaperiyar Dam.

Being well aware of the ground realities at Mullaperiyar, when Mr. Sunny and many others  raises their grave concern at the sight of water level swell past the danger mark in Mullperiyar and Idukki dams, the deafening silence of those in authority is indeed a great cause of worry.

Excerpts from the interview:

Last year the media and the society  was up in arms to protect the lives of people fearing the safety of Mullaperiyar dam, how dangerous is the present situation?

I am at  a loss to understand the logic which is guiding the media and the government. The situation now is more dangerous and alarming than last year. It is because along with Mullaperiyar,  Idukki dam is also racing ahead to its capacity and remember that we have just started off with the rainy season.

Will Tamil Nadu government act responsibly when the water level reaches the allowed 136 feet mark?

I doubt. In all probability, they won’t be in a state of urgency to open the spill ways as the water level reaches the 136 feet mark. The water level would obviously go past 136 feet mark when they would take the decision to send the water out.

Sending the water out won’t be that easy as spill ways would not have been used for many years and the way it is going to respond to rushing water will be unpredictable.

The catastrophe of Mullaperiyar dam breaking was a hotly debated. What is your view on this?

It beyond doubt that the Mullaperiyar dam is weak. You don’t need to do large scale studies to certify this fact. The leakage of dam which is well visible at many places is a testimony to the weakness of the dam. A dam which could hardly exist for 100 years has been given in lease for 999 years, that too under force has to be rectified at any cost.

 What action should government of Kerala take immediately?

Eventhough Kerala government has no say in the affairs of Mullaperiyar dam, it is heartbreaking to note that the lives and property of innocent people in its own territory living in danger zones, are given least priority.

The government has to make people aware of the situation and should urgently evacuate them to safer areas. It is unfortunate that government is not learning from disasters which happened in Uttarkhand. There is no use ruing over lost chances to take people to safer areas once the catastrophe has happened.

As I bid good bye to Mr. C. V. Sunny, like many other Keralites me too wished…had Saritha owned a property near Mullaperiyar Dam, the situation would have been totally different! 

(The author is on twitter as @jeffshawn)


  1. Why Kerala govt need to seek permission to build a separate dam.? Let the present dam be there, no need to break it. But a new dam can be constructed. For safety purpose. If at all the dam breaks, then the new dam, will prevent damage.
    Why cant the govt argue on this?

  2. Kerala Government needs permission because the Maharaja of Travancore under duress of British, was made to sign a lease deed with Madras Presidency, leasing the dam for 999 years! read more details in this blog:

  3. I believe the Maharaja signed the lease for 99 years and this was extended to 999 years by the Kerala Goverment in the 1970s.

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