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Three shutters of Cheruthoni dam in Idukki opened as water levels reach danger mark

Idukki:Three Shutters of Cheruthoni dam, part of the Idukki reservoir in Kerala, were opened on Tuesday to create more storage capacity in a...


Idukki:Three Shutters of Cheruthoni dam, part of the Idukki reservoir in Kerala, were opened on Tuesday to create more storage capacity in anticipation of the heavy rainfall predicted in its catchment area over the next two days.

Shutters of Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam and Pampa in Pathanamthitta were also opened in the morning as water in these reservoirs had almost reached the danger levels.

Three sirens were sounded prior to the opening of each of the shutters of Cheruthoni dam, which was last opened three years ago, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) said in its Facebook page.

The first shutter was raised at 11.00 AM, the next one at 12.00 PM and the third one at 12.30 PM, it said.

The shutters were raised, by 35 centimetres, in the presence of state Minister for Electricity K Krishnankutty and Kerala Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine who thereafter, visited the Idukki arch dam and the Cheruthoni town to assess the situation.

Speaking to the reporters after the shutters were opened, Augustine said, "The situation is calm presently. Water released from the dams is flowing normally. Inflow to the dam is reduced presently. Due to the rule curve, things were carried out accurately and timely. The decision (to open the dam's shutters) was taken to ensure people do not face any problems."

Krishnankutty, who also spoke to the reporters, said opening of the shutters was carried out on the basis of scientific data and the rule curve.

"Politicians did not decide it. Experts did," he added.

Earlier in the day, shutters of Idamalayar and Pampa reservoirs were opened in the wake of an increase in their water level and more rains predicted in the coming days in Kerala.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued orange alerts for 11 districts, barring Kollam, Alappuzha and Kasaragod, on Wednesday and 12 districts, except Kannur and Kasaragod, on Thursday.

Orange alert means an area is expected to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall which could range between 64.5 mm to 204.4 mm.

According to IMD data, the southern state has already received 135 per cent excess rain during the period from October 1 to 19.

The state government on Monday had opened the shutters of Kakki and Sholayar dams to release surplus water.

The Ernakulam district administration on Tuesday morning confirmed the opening of shutters 2 and 3 of Idamalayar dam by 50 centimetres each.

Opening of shutters 3 and 4 of the Pampa dam by 45 centimetres each was confirmed by the Pathanamthitta district administration on Tuesday.

Despite opening of the shutters of the three dams, the water level in the concerned rivers -- especially Periyar and Pampa -- will not rise to the levels as seen in 2018, government officials said and added that people need not panic fearing a repeat of what happened back then.

Later in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued a statement asking people living in hill regions, low lying areas and along the banks of the rivers, whose dams have been opened, to exercise caution and move to relief camps set up across the state.

State Health Minister Veena George visited the Aranmula-Pampa Satrakkadavu to assess the water level in Pampa river and thereafter, told reporters that as the water is receding into the low lying areas in Pathanamthitta district and in view of the IMD warning of heavy rains, people from Upper Kuttanad region -- where people were seen on news channels wading through waist-deep water -- were being shifted to relief camps.

State Revenue Minister K Rajan, while speaking to media this morning, said if people refuse to move out of risk prone areas, the government would be forced to "arrest" and shift them to the camps.

"Our aim is to save lives," he said.

The CM, in his statement issued later in the day, also said that as the monsoon recedes, extreme levels of rainfall over a short period was expected and due to the same, there would be an increase in the risk of landslides and overflowing of rivers.

He said the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has issued a stern directive to the people in hill areas and river banks to remain vigilant till the current situation normalises.

Meanwhile, the district administrations in Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam have put on hold all quarrying activities till October 24.

In Ernakulam's Aluva-Kalady area, fishermen and their boats were brought in via trucks in preparation for rescue and evacuation of people who might get stranded if the water level of Periyar, which flows through the district, rises like it had in 2018 when heavy rainfall and opening of the dams had flooded homes there.

The Ernakulam district administration also said that water from the Idukki reservoir will reach the Aluva-Kalady basin at midnight and people should remain alert.

In Alappuzha, where several places have been flooded, the state has set up 100 relief camps which are presently housing around 7,126 people from about 2,000 families.

The state government had on Monday announced that Idukki dam, built across the Periyar river, Idamalayar in Ernakulam and Pampa dam, in Pathanamthitta, were going to be opened on Tuesday.

Even though rains subsided in several parts of Kerala on Monday, after receiving heavy downpour last week, the decision to open shutters of these dams was taken as water levels there had reached close to the danger marks and more rains were expected from Wednesday.

In view of the prevailing situation and expected worsening of weather conditions, the government has cancelled pilgrimage to the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala for the Thula masam poojas.

-News Feed

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Local Glob: Three shutters of Cheruthoni dam in Idukki opened as water levels reach danger mark
Three shutters of Cheruthoni dam in Idukki opened as water levels reach danger mark
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