Mullaperiyar Dam, how it effects common man's thoughts

This article is written by me(Vinesh Balan), a Keralite living in the district Ernakulam, which is also threatened to be flooded if the disaster happens. This article might be biased to the thoughts of Keralites, so if you disagree, leave a comment sharing your thoughts.
Read my review on Dam 999 here - Dam 999, and the Mullaperiyar Dam issue
Check out how the issue effects us directly - Mullaperiyar Dam, how it effects common man
"Where can I learn to swim?" that was a question that made a roar of laughter burst out. But what's so funny in it? The situation made it funny(ironic). We were having our lunch in the office, and the talk for the day was - What if Mullaperiyar dam breaks down. The responses were overwhelming, here are a few.
  - It'll take 2 hours to reach here(the water to reach Ernakulam Dist.), start the bike and scorch off to Kalady(which supposedly won't be flooded).
  - It would be fun! Everyone would be happy because all would be dying!
  - Get ready with Cycle tubes
  - Let it happen on weekends, atleast I will be at home 
 These are a very few. I would love to compile a whole section of Mullaperiyar Jokes in future. Well, my doubt it, if the situation is so threatening, why is common man taking it lightly?
 To all those wondering what the commotion is all about, Mullaperiyar dam, is a 116 year old dam, rumored to succumb any day due to its weak infrastructure. And if it happens, its rumored that the water flowing out the dam would engulf 4 districts of Kerala, and release a spurge of epidemics to the other mortals. You can read all about it here - Mullaperiyar Dam
  Now there is a row between the states Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which have been prevailing for more than 20 years(I guess). But never before had it been so intense. With the help of Facebook, Media, and ofcourse the movie Dam 999, the issue has escalated to immense height. Facebook, I should say had a major role in creating such a commotion(I don't know if I can term it as a commotion). However, this pic portraying Kerala before and after the disaster has spun the mindset of thousands of Keralites, and Indians into the issue. The main effect has been on the minds of the youth(who normally stay away from such issues being helpless). Facebook has given them a perfect platform to spread the news like a wildfire(whether its true or not). The same happened in many things being popular - whether its Kolaveri or the Santhosh Pandit effect

The fight between states have become more fierce nowadays, with Tamil Nadu responding to the issue and blaming Kerala politics for creating such a panic. Tamil Nadu claims that the Dam is as strong as a new one( Yeah its already 116 years old. Oh almost forgot, it was build to withstand 999 years). If you don't understand any point I mentioned, just Google it through. To get a better insight of the history of this row, take a look at this link - Arguments by Tamil Nadu and Counter Arguments
 I would like to quote a few words from this article -  Mullaperiyar dam row: Tamil Nadu lawmakers protest against spread of propaganda

"The dam is very well constructed for thousand years purpose and it is only 112 years old. There is some seepage, but it is a permitted thing that is going on. But they are magnifying this thing and politicising it. Therefore, we are requesting our Kerala MPs and Kerala people, not to succumb to this kind of wrong propaganda," -  AIADMK lawmaker Thembi Durai
 I'm still laughing on the words Only 112 years old. Vaiko recently complained Keralites for not being thankful of the Vegetables and other goods they give to Kerala. I read another side of this story in an article. Take a look at this -
First of all, this Dam shouldnt have been there. The then King of Travancore was forced to sign this barbarian unilateral Agreement which he signed saying "I SIGN THIS WITH THE BLOOD OF MY HEART". This diversion of water has caused serious ecological issues which has destroyed the entire inland fishing and Rice cultivation of Central Travancore. Because of Saline water 10s of 1000s of hectors of land is left uncultivated for decades and we Keralites now have to depend on others for our daily needs. Huge Costal Dam called Thanneer Mukkam Bund was constructed to prevent Saline water, but in vain. Tamils get this water for free and we get nothing back. For all the goods and services we have to pay the Tamils merchant rates but We have to live in fear of our entire civilization being wiped of the surface of earth. We get no money, not even the lost UN Carbon Credits worth 13.8Crores per year. We feed them through 7 Dams and they bite those feeding hands. This Dam should be and will be demolished, a new one will be constructed. Kerala, There is no going back. This is the matter of life and death for us and this is a war which we cannot lose. Water is our only natural resource and we cannot trade it for humiliation. India gained independence in 1947, but Kerala hasnt. Our resources are taken away and we get a big FAT NOTHING. Wake up or we perish. All the 7Water treaties will need to be reworked every 5 years and water will be traded, not given for charity. No more undue benefits. Tamils have shown their true colours many times. We shoudnt go back even a step. No irrational assurances to any one for the sake of our children and our future generations. Boycott all those TN produce. Stop using Aircel, Sun/Surya Network, Ban all Tamil Channels and Ban all Tamil movies from being screened in Kerala. Blockade all TN Border Check Posts. Let us see where will they sell their Beef, Chicken, Egg and Veg ? We will never back down, for it is our land our rivers and our water. TN will have to pay 138 Crores immediately for the Lost carbon credits for the past decade. Make no mistake for our Civilization is under threat. We dont need any big brother who is blind in greed and selfishness. The more you give the more they want. Wake up. Sign the petition in Change dot org and let the world hear us. 
Source : TOI Comments
Now as a Keralite, it boils our blood to read the above comment. Well, I should say that's what every Keralite would be thinking(and I believe the local Tamilians living around Mullaperiyar as well).
  I do not know how true the effects of the disaster would be. Its hard to believe that 4 states would no more exist if it happens. But we do know one thing - when others recommend Kerala to prepare for disaster management, we will keep pushing on our demands for a new dam, and making the existing one safer. That's all we can do, and that's all what makes sense.
  I do not know what to believe. But I know one thing, people have panicked - the thought of the disaster shudders them, but they have no option but live as any other day. I would say we start panicking when the top Politicians, Celebrities, and Other important personalities start moving out of these districts. Till then - its just another day.
Update : Here is a pic which apparently gives a more detailed description on the so called destruction
Update : I'd like to add to this article, a few comments that I found at this site - Mullaperiyar dam is about Kerala's sovereignty. Take a look - 
Having analyzed and read about Mullaperiyar extensively over the years I feel that this is an 'open and shut' case with no room for controversy and 'inaction'.The facts of the case are straightforward:
  • 1. The dam was built with an outdated technology. Infact the only existing dam in the world that was built with that technology.
  • 2. The dam is more than 100 years old.
  • 3. The dam is situated in Kerala. The river is situated in kerala.
  • 4. The dam is owned by Kerala. As per an agreement it is operated by Tamil Nadu.
  • 5. The water harnessed through the dam is used exclusively for the benefit of the neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu. Electricity generated through the dam is also consumed exlusively by Tamil Nadu.
  • 6. There has been not a single incident so far in more than 100 years wherein the dam was shut down by Kerala (or erstwhile Travancore) to deny water to the people of the five parches districts of Tamil Nadu.
  • 7. There have been seismic termors recorded in recent times in and around the location of the dam.
  • 8. Experts from IIT Kharaghpur and IIT Delhi have submitted their fears about the degrading strength of the old dam and its increasing vulnerability. If Kerala has not acted irresponsibly so far (if anything, it has acted generously all these years), why must its fear about the safety being dismissed by Tamil Nadu off hand as some diabolical plan to deprive Tamil Nadu of water. Kerala has emphasized time and again that they believe in 'Water for Tamil Nadu,and security for Kerala'. Kerala has stated that Kerala will undertake all expenses to build a new dam at a nearby location BEFORE decommissioning the existing dam. All existing commitment to continue supplying water to Tamil Nadu will continue to be honored.
  • 9. Tamil Nadu maintains that since the dam has not collapsed in over 100 years, it is strong enough, and so Kerala has no business doubting its strength or building another dam. Any opinion to the contrary is supicious. Any plans of Kerala to question the strengthe of the existing dam MUST be due to SOME hidden agenda of Kerala. 'What if Kerala build a new dam and do not provide TN water?'. 'What if Kerala builds a new dam, and charges us the market rates for water and electricity?' . Too many 'what ifs' from Tamil Nadu. No one of the Tamil Nadu side is waiting to ask themselves, 'Listen may be we shouldnt go by the wild What Ifs flowing in our minds. Maybe we need to ask ourselves, has Kerala turned off the dam before? Has Kerala demanded market rates for the water? How come other neighboring states are charging Tamil Nadu market rates while Kerala has been providing water all these years for free? So why dont we trust our brothers and sisters in Kerala, and take them on their commitment to continue being nice with us? Why can we Tamils not be thankful for the water and understanding of the people of kerala all these years, and agree to repsect their concern for the safety of the people of kerala? If we have suspicions about the intentions of Kerala, despite them being ready to commit to continue offering water to TN exactly as before, why dont we TN people ask Central government for a counter guarantee that we continue to get Water from Kerala exactly as is being done today?'
  • 10. If the dam breaches the calamity will not only wash away a large chunk of kerala into the ocean, it will also destroy the entire dam as it stands today, and along with it THE AGREEMENT TO distribute the water harnessed through the dam to Tamil Nadu. While TN people and politicians want to stonewall any discussion on building an alternate dam, that new dam may actually be in TN's best interest. Built with modern technology, materials, world class specification, and anit seismic standards, the new dam could last for centuries if not millenia. If nothing is done and the existing dam bursts, Tamil Nadu's hopes of continuing to live off of Kerala's waters, would come to an abrupt end.
  • 11. If the existing dam bursts and a huge humanitarian calamit ensues, the public opinion against a dam would be so strong to begin with. Next, the position hereto adopted by Tamil Nadu people and politicians would be viewed as totoally insensitive, inhuman and thankless by the entire world, and particularly the people of Kerala. Any suggestion to build a new dam over mullaperiyar after the death and destruction of Keralites, would be scoffed at by one all oll, except Tamilians.
  • 12. It is in the best interest of TN, that the people and politicians of Tamil Nadu tone down the rhetoric and meet and match Kerala's goodwill midway. In my opinion it is extremely kind of Kerala to volunteer to take the entire bill for the new dam. Ideally, TN should step us and be willing to foot half the expenses. It may be a good idea for TN to foot the entire bill for the new dam, as a token gesture to acknowledge and thank the goodwill of Kerala to allow Tamil Nadu the exlusive use of Kerala's waters through the dam at Mullaperiyar.

Commented by - Nitin Kapoor, New York(exoticbronze@gmail.com)