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Touch-and-go situation in Idukki

Giji K. Raman
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Officials says there is no cause for alarm

Visitors crowd the Cheruthoni dam on Saturday in anticipation of the opening of the shutters.— Photo: H.Vibhu
Visitors crowd the Cheruthoni dam on Saturday in anticipation of the opening of the shutters.— Photo: H.Vibhu

With the water level in the Idukki dam reaching 2,401.56 ft and inflow continuing to be heavy on Saturday, it is a touch-and-go situation in Idukki.

Authorities said they would take a call on opening the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam on Sunday after a final review of the situation.

There was fall in rainfall in the catchment areas of the Idukki dam on Saturday. But, despite this, the inflow into the dam remained high which, a KSEB official attributed to heavy rain in Peerumade taluk.

An official at the KSEB control room atop the Cheruthoni dam said the inflow on Saturday was at the rate of 1 ft as compared 0.5 ft on Friday. He put the rainfall in the catchment area at 34 mm on Saturday.

The district administration and Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) authorities took stock of the situation and the preparations to meet the possible effects of opening the dam shutters and concluded that there was no cause for concern as of now.

They appealed to the media not to create panic and said all measures had been taken to ensure that the release of water from the dam would be in tune with the inflow and there would not be any massive impact on the people living downstream. With the fall in rain in the catchment areas, they were hoping that the inflow into the dam would subside and there would be any need to open the dam.

Addressing a joint news conference, District Collector Ajit Patil and KSEB Chief Engineer K.K. Karuppankutty said if there was a decision to open the dam shutters, an announcement to that effect would be made six hours before the decision was implemented. There was no question of opening the shutters during night, they said.

Mr. Patil said temporary shelters had been set up at the seven villages likely to be affected by the water discharge. Initially, 93 families would have to be relocated to these shelters. The administration and the KSEB would monitor the water discharge and the situation in the downstream villages of Vathikudy, Konnathady, Upputhode, Vazghathoppe and Kanjikuzhay constantly, he said.

Boating would not be allowed in the dam and the public would not be allowed entry into the dam structure in case the dam was opened. A warning had been issued to the people against parking vehicles at low-lying areas downstream and they should stand only in safe areas as the water released would be at varying levels depending on the inflow of water. A State-level disaster management team will be on standby to tackle any untoward development following the water discharge.

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