Power and politics.
This case is suitable for all levels of students, undergraduate MBA to Executive MBA classes and practitioners. Assignment questions are designed from the perspective of teaching this case to a business student audience.
A raging dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam was in the national spotlight after mild tremors shook nearby areas. The Mullaperiyar Dam was located in Idukki district of Kerala in India. The dam was filled to its maximum permissible level of 136 ft. Tamil Nadu wanted the storage capacity to be increased by raising the dam height from 136 ft (41.5 m) to 142 ft (43 m) as per a 2006 Supreme Court directive to meet the growing irrigation needs of the state. The dam was vital for people living in the drought-prone districts of Theni, Dindigul, Madurai, Sivagangai and Ramanathapuram of Tamil Nadu. It irrigated about 220,000 acres and supplied drinking water to Madurai city and several towns. Kerala on the other hand wants a new dam as it feared that a strong earthquake might damage the existing dam. Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy said: “I strongly believe that only a new dam can provide safety to the people of Kerala. We are only concerned about the safety of the people. But, unfortunately, there is a feeling in Tamil Nadu that the situation of panic here is a created one. That is not at all correct”. However, Tamil Nadu Government said the dam was safe as it had undergone periodic repairs during 1980-1994 with Kerala Government's approval. With the Kerala Government screaming loud over the danger that could be caused by the alleged obsolete 116 year old Mullaperiyar Dam on safety grounds of people who live downstream, why is Tamil Nadu defiant on any debate that cites the decommission of the controversial dam? Is the Tamil Nadu Government overlooking the issue for its personal benefits by putting the lives of 3 million people at stake?
Expected learning outcomes
The case would fit in a course for power and politics. It would also be appropriate for a modular course on regional development planning.
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