Mullaperiyar dam on the verge of spilling over, landslip near Idukki collectorate

Thousands of people in Idukki district are facing a serious threat to their lives and property as the Mullapperiyar dam on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border is on the verge of spilling over and landslips continued to wreak havoc at several places on Tuesday.

A major landslip occurred in front of the district collectorate at Painavu on the Thodupuzha-Puliyanmala road on Tuesday.

No one was injured in the landslip that threw traffic out of gear on the usually busy route.

The rising water level in the Mullaperiyar dam (it was 134.5 feet on Tuesday) has created fears among the people in the downstream areas. The dam’s capacity is 136 feet and water spilling over will flow into the Idukki dam, which is also on the verge of reaching the maximum water level.

If both the dams are opened, thousands of people will be affected by the swelling waters between Vallakkadavu and Ayyappancoil. Vandiperiyar, Karinkulam Chappathu and Upputhara towns lie on the banks of the Periyar which was in spate at many areas on Monday and Tuesday 

morning. Though the district administration has identified centres to be opened as temporary shelters, it will be a difficult task considering the large number of people to be rehabilitated.

“It is sleepless night,” said

A..J. Thomas, a resident of Upputhara town. He said that he had to shift his family to a relative’s house at Onpathekkar last year and is ready to send them there this time too. 

 It is the same case with many other families living on the banks of the Periyar. 

The heavy rain has also resulted in a sudden rise in the water level in the two dams. The water level in the Idukki dam was 2,391.50 ft against the full reservoir level of 2,403 ft.

An official of the revenue department said that all precautionary measures have been taken in view of the rising water level in the two dams.

The District Superintendent of Police M. Sheik Anwaruddin Saheb said that the roads between Cheruthoni and Thodupuzha and between Chelachuvadu and Idukki faced the threat of landslips any time now.

The other routes affected in the landslips are Neriyamangalam-Idukki State Highway and the Thodupuzha-Puliyanmala State Highway. There were landslips at many places on the route. 

The revenue department and PWD offices have reported 10 major landslips at different places, though no lives have been lost in these incidents.  An official of the public works department said that it would take at least three months to rebuild the road in front of the collectorate as the road would need a concrete foundation to raise it out of a deep gorge. A major landslip was reported at Cherry on the same route and the road is totally closed to traffic. 

Several houses have been damaged partly or fully in Cheruthoni area and minor landslips have been reported from Muckannankudy, Maniyankudy, Ponniankulam, Peppara, Mariyapuram, Kanjikuzhy and Perrumkala. The district administration has cautioned that roads on the High Ranges like the ones between Kattappana and Kuttikanam and Kumily and Mundakkayam on the Kottayam-Kumily road are prone to landslips.

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