Even as Tamil Nadu is opposing moves by upper riparian states such as Karnataka to construct dams across inter-state rivers, it is planning to build a new dam under the 60-year-old Parambikuam -Aliyar Project (PAP).
The state government has constituted a technical advisory expert committee to construct Anamalayar reservoir with a storage capacity of 2.5 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) water under PAP, the lifeline of the Pollachi region.
Under an agreement between Tamil Nadu and Kerala inked in 1958 during the K Kamaraj government to implement PAP, Tamil Nadu was to get 30.5 tmc of water and Kerala 19.55 tmc every year. Tamil Nadu has constructed 10 reservoirs under PAP that have a combined storage of 28 tmc of water. The state government was not able to construct the Anamalayar reservoir to store 2.5 tmc of water due to disputes over water-sharing.
Now, the state government is planning to construct the Anamalayar reservoir as it had allowed Kerala to construct dams as per its entitlement under PAP.
As per the project, the Tamil Nadu government decided to divert waters from six rivers Nirar, Sholaiyar, Parambikulam, Thunakkadavu, Peruvaripallam and Aliyar (Palar) that flow towards western direction in the Western Ghats to the eastern side to the benefit Tamil Nadu. As per the agreement, Tamil Nadu was to get 30.5 tmc of water every year and Kerala would get 12.3 tmc water from Sholayar dam and 7.2 tmc from Aliyar reservoir every year.
The PAP agreement allowed the construction of eleven reservoirs for Tamil Nadu. But the state government was able to construct only 10 reservoirs including Upper Nirar weir (0.04 tmc capacity), Lower Nirar dam (0.027 tmc), Sholayar reservoir (5.39 tmc ft), Parambikulam reservoir (17.82 tmc), Thunakkadavu reservoir (0.66 tmc), Peruvarippallam reservoir (0.62 tmc), Aliyar reservoir (3.86 tmc), Thirumurthy reservoir (1.94 tmc), Upper Aliyar reservoir (0.94 tmc) and Kadamparai reservoir (1.09 tmc). Three reservoirs Parambikulam, Thunakkadavu and Peruvarippallam are located inside Kerala.
Due to various political reasons, the state government was not able to construct Anamalayar reservoir. The dam will be constructed in the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border located above the Sholayar dam near Valparai.
The state government has nominated chief engineer (retired) E Tamilarasan, chief engineer (retired) R Elangovan, special chief engineer (retired), conservator of forests, Coimbatore, as ex-officio members and chief engineer (hydro), Tangedco, as another ex-officio member for the expert committee of the Anamalayar dam project. The expert committee members have experience in PAP regions and recently they visited the site where the Anamalayar dam would come up.
“A detailed report about the Anamalayar was completed in 1975. But due to various reasons, the project was not implemented. Now, the technical expert committee would prepare a detailed project report and estimate the cost to construct the Anamalayar dam,” said a PWD source.
The committee members would arrange a meeting for inter-state irrigation department officials soon. “If chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala hold talks about the Anamalayar reservoir, there is a chance to get nod for the project from the Kerala side,” said the source. The Union ministry of environment should give a ‘no objection’ to construct the dam, the source stated.