Staff Reporter

RAMANATHAPURAM: Probably, for the first time since the construction of the Vaigai Dam, the falling shutters have been opened at Ramanathapuram big tank in March to discharge flood water into the sea.

Though there was a respite on Monday from the rain, the inflow in the Vaigai river has been on the rise. Due to flood in Manjalaru, Maruthanathi and in several jungle streams, the inflow increased on Sunday. Around 9,000 cusecs was realised at the Parthibanur regulator near Manamadurai. The inflow is expected to touch beyond 10,000 cusecs in the night on Monday. People living in the low-lying areas along the Vaigai river were evacuated or moved to safer areas.

Since most of the system, non-system and minor irrigation tanks have already reached their maximum capacity, officials have opened the shutters to allow the flood water to drain. Though this is unusual in March, officials say there is no other option.

T. Kumanan, Executive Engineer, PWD (Water Resource Organisation) told The Hinduthat 5,000 cusecs was released into the sea. “More than 70 per cent of the 474 PWD tanks have already reached the full level. We are maintaining safe levels in other tanks. We don’t want to fill up the other tanks for the time being. If we fill them up, they could face the danger of breaching, as the chances of more rain are not completely ruled out,” he said.

K. S. Abdul Rashid, Assistant Executive Engineer, said 72 system tanks coming under Kottakaraiyar were filled up. As many as 38 rainfed tanks were also filled to its maximum capacity.

Several villages in Mudukulathur and Sayalkudi were inundated following breaches at a few tanks. Situation in some areas of Paramakudi looked grim because of continuous flood.

Standing paddy crops raised in more than 1,000 hectares in and around Ramanathapuram were damaged.