Idukki dam shutters primed for opening

Giji K. Raman &
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With the water level in Asia’s biggest arch dam reaching 2,401.5 ft, the district administration on Saturday reviewed the final steps for opening the shutters of the dam. An official announcement in this regard is expected on Sunday.

District Collector Ajit Patil, addressing a press meet along with KSEB chief engineer K.K.Karuppankutty, said all technical preparations had been made and a decision by higher authorities on opening the shutters was awaited.

Mr. Karuppankutty also held a top-level meeting and reviewed the steps taken before visiting the Idukki and Cheruthoni dams. He said there was no need for panic and the release of water would be in keeping with the inflow into the reservoir.

Despite a drop in rainfall in the catchment area on Saturday, there is good inflow of water following heavy rain in Peerumade taluk, said a top official of the KSEB.

An official of the control room at the Cheruthoni dam said the inflow was 1 ft per day compared to 0.5 ft the previous day. The rainfall in the catchment area was 34 mm on Saturday.

Mr. Patil said the public would be notified six hours before opening the dam and it was unlikely to be opened during the night.

Officials have prepared temporary shelters in the seven villages that are likely to be immediately affected by discharged water. There are 93 families to be sheltered initially, he said adding that the flow of the released water would be monitored.

A warning has been issued to people against parking vehicles in lowlying areas downstream of the river. He said a disaster management team would be kept ready to face any situation.

Meanwhile, the news of opening the shutters after 21 years has drawn a large number of people to Cheruthoni, according to the Idukki District Tourism Promotion Council.

The number of people who visited the hill view park on the dam rose to 800 from Friday’s 600. The road to hill view park is congested with vehicles and people are walking over the bridge of the dam enjoying the panoramic view.

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