The damn dam

Preface: This post is purely taken out from another blog which is written in Malayalam – Nammude boolokam. I believe Nammude boolokam will not complain against me to take the subject and properties used in the post. I do this as part of the e-campaign for saving Kerala, by saving Mullapperiyar Dam.

Dear readers, I am joining nammude boolokam website in the e-campaign led by them for saving Mullapperiyar dam. I hope all like-minded people will join us. Pictures used in this post are taken by Mr. Faizal Muhammed who is a photo journalist for a leading print media in Kerala. Faizal published all the mullapperiyar related photos in his blog two years before. One can see the pathetic condition of the dam in the photos below. The funniest thing is, almost all media have the same kind of photos and visuals. But no one is publishing it in their media. Just because of vested interests and their not-so-serious mentality towards a catastrophic disaster which will occur in Kerala in near future. Let us do something, at least the smallest thing that we can do in regard of Mullapperiyar.

I, along with Nammude boolokam request readers to spread the word across; if possible, translate this article to Tamil or a better English article. So that an awareness is created.

Many people still believe that the so called dangerous situation in Mullapperiyar dam is just a hype created by Kerala government and Keralites. I hope this article will atleast show some shocking scenes from the ground zero. Mullaperiyar dam is one of the oldest of its kind in South India. It was built before 110 years using some jurassic technologies, which the builder himself tells the ‘estimated’ life of dam is 50 years. The dam breach is 60 years over due now!

Mullaperiyar-full This dam has a height of 54 meters (177 feet) and a basement of 44.2 meters (145 feet). It is built with a mixture of Lime stone and mortar. When it was built, there was no reinforced concrete or similar techniques. The engineer who built this dam calculated that this dam will stand for 50 years. After building the dam there was an agreement between princely state of Travancore and then Madras presidency. It was purely an unfair dealing. The agreement says of leasing out the land area of reservoir for 999 years.

Kerala was giving water to Tamilnadu. It is, and it will. No problem. Problem comes in the other way. The dam is not safe to carry water more than 136 feet of water. Tamilnadu wants it to be raised to 142 feet. Whereas in late 1970s itself central water committee suggested not to raise water level beyond 136 feet as the dam is not in fit condition. Fact is that even in 136 feet water level, Tamilnadu will be able to get water. Another interesting fact is that Tamilnadu pays Andhrapradesh Rs. 3 crores per TMC of water, and Rs. 40,000 for 70 TMC of water! Shall we call it incompetency for Government of Kerala? We should!

See the image below where you can see the week wall of the dam. You should see the cross section of the dam in the image above also to understand the impact of a breach!

Mullaperiyar Dam as it is seen with water level at 115 feet.
Mullaperiyar Dam as it is seen with water level at 115 feet.

Image below,you can see the cracks very clearly. Generally the security system there will not allow anyone to photograph this. Once, Indian navy was called for to photograph the cracks in the dam. But after boarding the boat, Navy got a call from ‘Higher’ authorities to come back! Understand, this “STRONG” wall is protecting the lives of 35 lakhs+ people who live downstream and 5 districts which are in the vicinity of this dam.

Cracks to take lives
Cracks to take lives

Water seeping into the wall through the cracks


Plaster on the wall of the dam eroded due to constant contact of water.


See the reservoir of Mullaperiyar! Good. Right? What Tamilnadu say is even if the Mullaperiyar dam is breached, Idukki dam will be able to stop water at it. Hey TN, what are your trying to say? Just forget about the thousands of people who are living between Mullaperiyar and Idukki dams? (Then, why can’t we forget people in Tamilnadu?!)


This is the gate of the “Srikovil”! Key is with Tamilnadu. What a pity. Our neighbor has the key to our home! And for sure, it will not be opened to a Keralite.


Here comes the super scenes. The below is inside the tunnel. Reservoir is on the right wall of this tunnel. You can see water oozing from the wall. Mind it. It is not any intended hole or crack. But it is one which developed in time course.

tunnel 2

Breach of this dam will be so disastrous that, the high court building in Eranakulam will be under water! So, think.

Dear Tamilnadu, Please don’t try to say that all these photos are taken inside my home!

I wish I get more details and photographs in this regard. Please pass the word…

Save Mullaperiyar Dam, Save Kerala

Credits for the pictures goes to Mr. Faisal Muhammed. Thank you Faisal. You did a wonderful work.

44 responses to “The damn dam”

  1. Thanks pals… It is not just a matter of Mullaperiyar Dam, Kerala or Tamil nadu. I/We talk for safety of life. Hoping for the best possible amicable solution… All we can do is to write articles. It is our leaders who need to act.

  2. Hi from Osai Chella, a popular Tamil Blog Activist. It is all pack of lies! Can you tell me the following facts?

    1. What is the altitude of Mullaiperiyar dam?
    2. What are the altitudes of the five districts that will be washed away if the dam collapses..( as per your idea) ?

    With warm regards,
    Osai Chella

  3. Dear Chella,

    Happy that you are here. 🙂

    Mullaperiyar is 4 386.48 feet above sea level. Anyway the districts which are on the east of the dam are below that level.

    You can’t just tell it as just “a pack of lies”. Just for a sake of thinking, let Kerala build a new dam, facing it’s opening to TamilNadu! How will be the reaction of Tamil Nadu.

    Chella, Please don’t see it as the problem of two states. Rather it is about an out dated “Historical” structure which can collapse any time over millions of people. Fact is, Mullaperiyar is the oldest Masonry Dam still in use, in the whole Asia.

    What TN need is water. What Kerala is ready to give is water. What TN is not giving is the right to live without fear.

    • Hi Santhosh,

      You said “What TN need is water. What Kerala is ready to give is water.” ok let kerala government construct a new dam. but can you assure that bullish congressians will not do politics on sharing the water to TN. we had lesson with karnataka.
      congress cannot regain it’s political power in TN. so these kind of cheap politics are expected from them.

      • Are you mad Padhu????????? dont you people use your brain??? we are not talking about the cheap pollitics… we are talking about our valuable lives….. How can we comprise with it… TN is forgetting that the property belongs to KERALA only, we are not asking a favour…. We shld reconstruct the dam & revise the bloody nonsense that made by the British rulers with Madrs Presiddency & Travancore, which are not there now..

        One more thing-Not only congress rules in Kerala, but Left parties are also there.. moreover we Keralites not like you TN people , will not trust the politicians 100% ,we always fight for the right; whether it is Congress, CPM or BJP…
        so we are not against the water that given to TN… we want safety…

        • Biju,

          No one is supposed to use this kind of language in a constructive forum. Kindly edit your comment so that it is not caught as unparliamentary. If the other party complains, I may have to edit or delete your comment.

          We are here to be with our neighbors. Not to quarrel. Let it be good or bad, we should understand, it will affect both sides.

  4. Dear Mr. Santosh,
    Your efforts to throw more light on the Mullaiperiar dam is commendable. I am from Tamil Nadu and from Madurai Dist which is benifitted by this dam. Please note , the airid and rain shadow regions of Teni and Ramand Districts are irrigated by this dam and this is for this particular pirpose this dam was built. Probably you may be aware of the History behind this dam. Today thousands of Farmers from Tamilnadu are dependent on this.
    Now the problem ( or the dispute) is not about the Dam but about the Water the Dam provides to TN. We all have become so inward looking that we are unable to think of sharing our resources with fellow citizens of India. The political parties are adding fuel to this and trying to gain electoral mileage. Probably this mistrust is what preventing TN from thinking ahead , evethough it knows very well the Dam cannot stand 999 years.
    The solution is to make a new contract- probably for a good number of years- providing guantee to TN on the supply of water through a new Dam. This initiative has to come from Kerala led by an all party team.

    This has to happen and people like us should create awareness. Also we should not incite the people of Kerala by comparing Krishna water and this. Also we should not term the current water sharing agreement as Unfair. If we do ,it will only strenghten the views of the section of the political parties in TN, which feels, the real intention of the Kerala Govt is to divert the entire water to Kerala and is using the condition of the Dam as a cover.

  5. Hi Santhosh !
    What i asked you is something very basic! Your cm said if the Dam collapses then 4 or 5 district will washed away! The places he mentioned were above the MSL of Mullai Periyar! Can you explain me his anti tamilnadu… opps sorry … antigravity stand ! lol! When you got the basics wrong ppl will suspect. We tamils are not against malayali brotherns. We used to talk very high about your unity! So let us initiate a dialogue! But i like the activism you brought in to the cyberspace. Kudo’s for that!

    valara snehaththudan…
    Osai CHella fm Coimbatore

    • Such a cruel remark! 🙂

      So, you want to experiment with the dam failure. right? I guess, you have not seen any of the dams in Kerala! it is not a dam like Vaigai Dam or Manimuthar Dam. It is water boss!! Water. I can give life.. and take it also.

      There is no matter of gravity.

      Fine. What is there for TamilNadu to interfere with a home issue of Kerala. Very well this can be considered as a home issue. And Tamilnadu’s terms and conditions sounds like, she is doing some mercy act on Kerala. No need. My personal opinion is, Kerala should go ahead and void the idiotic agreement which was made by British. It has been 60 years now british has gone away from India. What is there agreement doing here? Do not the judiciary have a 100grams of brain?

      A new dam needs to be built. And it should be in 100% control of Kerala. Water will be supplied to TamilNadu on revised tarrifs.


  6. Hi Osai,

    So you want the dam to break and find out what will happen.. whether it will indeed wash out 4 or 5 districts.. what’s the point you are trying to prove…just tell us something.. when the tsunami struck, did it really wait to find out gravity or antigravity… pl look at things based on the merits…let us be indians first and work toward collective interests…

  7. this dam is a damn bomb, ticking time bomb, and it ll not last for ever..,. and it is located at area of sesmic activity…. u peoples of tamil nadu doesn’t know about the pressure created by water in reservoir,, slight earth quake will further crack the dam it ll brust… trillions of gallons of water is capable of covering mountains, washing everything in its paths including small dam, canals ,,.. in matter of minutes area ll became sea…. we dont want to see thousands of peoples body floating in water..,,, well the water is nonsense,,, there by simply calculating altitude ,gravity of dam location doesnt justify your thinking,,.. it is not like pouring water to garden,,.. so a rethinking is needed in the minds of tamil people,,.. and dont think like tamil,, keralite
    it is matter of ours..

  8. Dear All,let the authorities will confirm the dam safety till that we can avoid these kind of controversial statement.Please note,if there is no water from mullai periyar subsequently there will not be cultivation in “Theni”area.The result of that, vegetable and rice cost will be increased drastically in KERALA.So please keep it in mind all the aspects and try to avoid controversial statements since kerala and tamilnadu will have to move forward together.

    • Is that a threat from Tamilnadu?

      Which is more important? Life of a million or cultivation of a district?

      Dear friend, There is no controversy with me… it is with the governments. All political gimmicks! People don’t realize it.

  9. Dear Santhosh,
    Am not a tamilian, but a neutral person from hosur. As per my understanding it is obvious to save millions life. when u say area is leased for 999 years, it means contract still active. Also u say, prices must be revised.? i don’t get point. When it is already leased and u want to revise the price, which indirectly means you are also looking for indirect business. May be tamil nadu govt also thinking same, when u revise, it has to spend more and kerala at any time change mind of disputing water just like their another partner karnataka(No offence, just wierd thought). It both contradicts. Either one has to leave way for other. Otherwise, millions of people life will be under threat till then.

    • Shekar.

      All is well. There is no agreement of contract between Government of Kerala and Government of Tamilnadu. Contracts were between Pre-independence Madras presidency and erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore. Now that the Travancore kingdom itself is dissolved how come the agreement alone stand?

      After all, how can one expect a dam which had an estimated age of 50-60 (as estimated by the builder himself) can stand for 999 years? It is not even concrete, just lime mortar. If there is a risk posed, there should be a mitigation plan too.

      No one is suggesting how to pull out the risk. All are asking to face it. Bad. Humanity is what Kerala is looking forward. And like me, most of the Keralites have already became pessimistic. Dam will collapse, People will die. All in Tamilnadu will live peacefully thereafter.

  10. We will never stop water supply to TamilNadu bcoz without water they will die.
    We will never allow Tamil Nadu–ocedent with water Kerala people to die.
    We trust in God .

  11. Things are like this at present. Today or tomorrow or the next moment the dam may collapse. We,keralites need a solution on the spot. Harthal,discussion etc etc will not bring an immediate solution. Only thing which can be done is to drive out water immediately. That can be to TN through their pipes. People who conduct procession on the streets in cities may proceed to the dam instead. Let them make the caretaker of the dam release water immediately.
    Again there will be rain. Let TN build dams in their slops and collect Mullapperiyar water there by constant flow through pipes.It will take time in Kerala standards. But TN can do it fast.

  12. Santhosh u got a bit emotional in between. Ok Lets come to the point. For sure we can’t take a risk on millions of lifes. Osai Chella mentioned that 5 districts are above the altitude of Mullai Periyar Dam thats fine boss. But ur point says that if the dam breaks that will destroy some other district and not these 5 districts. Is it so??? I am bemused. The thing is as some one mentioned in the middle that why not Kerala Govt come up with an agreement that we will give the same water at same tariff. To be honest the politicians are doing it for electoral votes. Two governments should sit down and come up with a solution which will not affect both the sides. If the builder has said that the dam will be good for just 50 60 years then it is really a matter of concern(provided that is true). I am also confused about the agreement made between somebody who is not here now.

  13. Dear Santhose,

    Pls study the history of Kerala, Can u tell me where u r importing your foods. U people depend on tamil & karnataka,

    Keralites are the number one lazy peoples in india. check web site

    History of malayalam
    Malayalam, the official language of kerala, is one of the south dravidian language. It is believed that malayalam is derived from tamil (kodumthamizh), another south dravidian language, during the sangam period. But many words in malayalam are borrowed from Sanskrit, and this gives rise to a counter argument about the origin of the language.

    The origin of Malayalam as a distinct language may be traced to the last quarter of 9th Century A.D. Malayalam first appeared in writing in the vazhappalli inscription which dates from about 830 AD. In the early thirteenth century the Malayalam script began to develop from a script known as vattezhuthu (round writing), a descendant of the Brahmi script. But malayalam as we know now is greatly simplified from 900 glyphs, which it originally had.

    From the Department of public relations, govt. of kerala:

    Malayalam is classified as a South Dravidian language. It is the official language of Kerala. About 31.8 million people consider Malayalam as their mother tongue. Possessing an independent written scipt, it also has a rich modern literature. There are at least five main regionaldialects of Malayalam and a number of communal dialects. It belongs to the Dravidian family. Many words have been borrowed from Sanskrits. There are 37 consonants and 16 vowels in the script. Malayalam has a written traditional dating back from the late 9th century and the earliest work dates from 13th century. The script used is called Kolezhethu (Rod-script) which is derived from ancient Grandha Script. Malayalam differs from other Dravidian language as the absence of personal endings on verbs. It has a one to one correspondence with the Indo Aryan Devanagari syllabarry.


    Malayalam (/malayALam/) is the principal language of the South Indian state of Kerala and also of the Lakshadweep Islands (Laccadives) of the west coast of India. Malayalis (speakers of Malayalam), who – males and females alike – are almost totally literate, constitute 4 percent of the population of India and 96 percent of the population of Kerala (29.01 million in 1991). In terms of the number of speakers Malayalam ranks eights among the fifteen major languages of India. The word /malayALam/ originally meant mountainous country) (/mala/- mountain + /aLam/-place). Tamil is its neighbor on the south and east and Kannada on the north and east.

    Evolution of the Language
    With Tamil, Kota, Kodagu and Kannada, Malayalam belongs to the southern group of Dravidian languages. Its affinity to Tamil is the most striking. Proto-Tamil Malayalam, the common stock of Tamil and Malayalam apparently disintegrated over a period of four of five centuries from the ninth century on, resulting in the emergence of Malayalam as a language distinct from Tamil. As the language of scholarship and administration Tamil greatly influenced the early development of Malayalam. Later the irresistable inroads the Brahmins made into the cultural life of Kerala accelerated the assimilation of many Indo-Aryan features into Malayalam at different levels.

    Development of Literature
    The earliest written record of Malayalam is the /vazhappaLLi/ inscription (ca. 830 AD). The early literature of Malayalam comprised three types of composition:

    Classical songs known as /pATTu/ of the Tamil tradition
    /maNipravALam/ of the Sanskrit tradition, which permitted a generous interspersing of Sanskrit with Malayalam
    The folk song rich in native elements
    Malayalam poetry to the late twentieth century betrays varying degrees of the fusion of the three different strands. The oldest examples of /pattu/ and maniprvAlam respectively are /rAmacharitam/ and /vaishikatantram/, both of the twelveth century.
    The earliest extant prose work in the language is a commentary in simple Malayalam, Bhashakautaliyam (12th century) on Chanakya’s Arthasastra. Malayalam prose of different periods exibit degree of influence of different languages such as Tamil, Sanskrit, Prakrits, Pali, Hindi, Urdu, Arabi, Persian, Syriac, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English. Modern literature is rich in poetry, fiction, drama, biography, and literary criticism.

    The Script
    In the early thirteenth century /vattezhuthu/ (round writing) traceable to the pan-Indian brahmi script, gave rise to the Malayalam writing system, which is syllabic in the sense that the sequence of graphic elements means that syllables have to be read as units, though in this system the elements representing individual vowels and consonants are for the most part readily identifiable. In the 1960s Malayalam dispensed with many special letters representing less frequent conjunct consonants and combinations of the vowel /u/ with different consonants.

    Malayalam now consists of 53 letters including 20 long and short vowels and the rest consonants. The earlier style of writing is now substituted with a new style from 1981. This new script reduces the different letters for typeset from 900 to less than 90. This was mainly done to include Malayalam in the keyboards of typewriters and computers.

    Language variation and external influnece
    Variations in intonation patterns, vocabulary, and distribution of grammatical and phonological elements are observable along the parameters of region, community, occupation, social stratum, style and register. Influence of Sanskrit is most prominent in the Brahimin dialects and least in the Harijan dialects. Loanwords from English, Syriac, Latin, and Portuguese abound in the Christian dialects and those from Arabic and Urdu in the muslim dialects. Malayalam has borrowed from Sanskrit thousands of nouns, hundreds of verbs and some indeclinables. Some items of basic vocabulary (eg/mukhum/ face, /nakham/ nail, /bhArya/ wife, bharthAvu/ husband) also have found their way into Malayalam from Sanskrit.

    English stands only second to Sanskrit in its influence in Malayalam. Hundreds of individual lexical items and may idiomatic expressions in modern Malayalam are of English origin.

    Planning and Development
    As the language of administration and as the medium of instruction in schools and colleges, Malayalam is coming into its own. A scientific register in the language is slowly evolving. Remarkably liberal in their attitudes, Malayalis have always welcomed other languages to coexist with their own and the interaction of these with Malayalam has helped its development in different respects.

    • “Keralites are the number one lazy peoples in india. check web site” I agree… Keralites are lazy only in Kerala. If I were lazy, I would not be sitting here and typing this.

      Look the same thing from Kerala’s point of view. TN does not have any better market than Kerala. Easy to transport. Get good price! If one day, so called lazy people decide that we dont need any more ‘imports’ from TN, think where TN will be! Damn sure, Andhra and Karnataka has their on internal markets and TN cannot do a ‘that’ thing of them.

      TN and KL are complementing each other. We have money, you have goods. It is a give and take. And Mind it Ms Sunitha, TN is not doing a charity. It is business.

  14. Quote “Many people still believe that the so called dangerous situation in Mullapperiyar dam is just a hype created by Kerala government and Keralites. I hope this article will atleast show some shocking scenes from the ground zero. Mullaperiyar dam is one of the oldest of its kind in South India. It was built before 110 years using some jurassic technologies, which the builder himself tells the ‘estimated’ life of dam is 50 years. The dam breach is 60 years over due now!”
    It seemed to me that the article is written and published with the sole aim of protecting people of the districts that live downstream of the dam. But the comments section shows another side of the coin, “gain control of the dam” & “revise the tariff for water to TN”. This is why any neutral person will not support the “Save Mullaperiyar” campaign. Keralites should remember that “God’s own country” is blessed with abundant rainfall and sharing water with TN which does not enjoy such abundance will truly make Keralites “God’s own people”. What you received freely, freely shall you give to those in need is basic humanity.
    I trust the humans of Kerala will agree to my point and not fall victims to the politicians of India. Most Indian politicians are not human !

  15. Dear Sir,

    Your shown DAM Picture is not MULLAI PERIYAR. Thats IDUKKI CHERUDHONY AND IDUKKI ARCH DAM. Am I right?

    • Yes sir, I was mentioning about the safety of Idukki dam in that part. And just wanted to show how the reservoir will be… It will be always like a tea cup… up to the brim!!

  16. Hi to all ,
    dear “santhosh u have done a great job”
    Mr.Chella can i ask a question, hw much % of your brain u r using.
    you r also using like sunitha that is 0% out of 100%.

    dear sunitha sorry for the words, Do you understand what is happening in this conversation at least read the above contents and give comments.

    I agree with u all we cant trust politicians .
    Somehow we want this dispute to be sorted out.

    Seeking help for this initiation from all my tamil brothers and sisters.

    lets join together to save our brothers and sisters.
    BE AN INDIAN……………….

  17. Sunitha Madam… i know we are getting food stuffs from another staes includes tamil nadu, but nothing for free we are paying for it.

  18. What my personnel opinion is, build the new dam in the same area where the current one is. But what kerala wanted is, to build the new dam in the down stream. If that the case.. it can give enough water to Tamilnadu, as the water to tamilnadu can be supplied if the current wanter level raised above 104 ft. (below that are considered as dead storage).
    The new dam which Kerala wants to build can’t reach that 104 ft level. It only can serve the purpose of opening water to Iddiki reservoir and generate more power out of it.
    It is war of either we want Power or Irrigation.


    • A simple logic… Why should TN continue to use the same outbound canals? When the new dam is ready, build a new canal to take water out, simply drain the reservoir machaan! May be, TN or KL has to invest something on that also… If one is ready to build a dam, why not a new canal?

      As I said earlier, I am talking from a layman’s point of view. Thoughts are welcome.

  19. Ms. Sunitha. Thanks for visiting and using this blog as a toilet. Kindly do not teach me the history of Kerala. If you want, I can teach you that, along with History of Tamilnadu and History of India.

    We are not discussing about the cultural diversity of South Indian states. Rather, a socio-political issue over the safety of a dam. Kindly keep that in mind and do comment on that.

    Discussion is open. But not for emotional buffs! What say people?

  20. Dear Friends,

    Tamil Nadu only always affecting, though we have clear reasonable agreements, Judgements by Courts.

    Not only in this issue, Like Cauvery, Palar, Krishna, etc., always Tamil Nadu is asking all, for getting the Actual rights.

    This is the situation…

  21. dear santhosh ,

    pls give an example anydam have collpsed due to earhquake , if this many people lives are in danger why to build a new dam , WHAT precautions were taken , do we
    have the guts to boycott TN goods , ANY way ordinary people r going to suffer.

  22. why this much worry , build a new dam downstream anywhere to potect people , talking in roadsides , harthals wont help , it only lead people to go out of state in
    search of job and food, shame on us

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