Opening a new front in its long-drawn dispute with Tamil Nadu over Mullaperiyar dam, Kerala is likely to approach the National Green Tribunal citing adverse ecological impact resulting from keeping the water level above 142 feet.
Disclosing this at a press meet here, Kerala Forest Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan said the government would seek legal opinion on saving the ecological system of the area, which is part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR).
Vast swathes of ecologically sensitive area and the flora and fauna had already been submerged in the area after Tamil Nadu reduced intake allowing the water level to touch upto 142 feet, the minister said.
If the water level was raised further, upto 5.68 square km of forest land around the dam would get inundated resulting in an irreparable loss of rare biodiversity of the evergreen forests on the slopes of the Western Ghats, he said.
Over the years, the central ministry had even declined to allow Kerala to utilise some forest land for improving facilities for pilgrims thronging Sabarimala Temple during the pilgrimage season holding that the shrine fell in the PTR region, he added.
Kerala has been insisting that the level be maintained at 136 feet while Tamil Nadu wants to raise it to 142 feet.
The Supreme Court had earlier this year rejected Kerala's demand for a new dam in place of the old one and upheld Tamil Nadu's stand to raise the water level upto 142 feet.