A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday sought responses of the State government and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in a suo motu writ petition on the issue of rise in water level of dams and regulation of dam waters.
The suo motu case was registered based on a letter addressed by Justice Devan Ramachandran to Chief Justice S. Manikumar.
When the petition came up, the Bench comprising Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chali asked the government and the KSEB to file a statement in response to the petition. The court ordered to implead the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) as a respondent in the case. The judge in his letter said the water level in major and minor dams in the State, especially in Idukki, is already high on account of the reduction in the generation of electricity caused by the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
The water levels in these dams are not properly regulated. The monsoon forecast for the year predicts normal or more-than-normal rainfall and this sounds an immediate warning bell more than ever when the people are grappling with the COVID-19 scenario.
Therefore, the normal rainfall this year might replicate the horror of flood that had occurred in the past two years. This did not mean that the inundation in the past was solely due to unregulated dams, but this could certainly be one of the many contributing factors, the letter said.
Power generation low
The letter pointed out that it was reported that some of the generators in the Idukki dam were not functional, resulting in low power generation even during the recent rain. Besides, the rule curve, now devised or adopted by the KSEB, did not properly anticipate flooding this year.
The judge requested that a report be sought immediately from the head of the Load Dispatch Centre of the KSEB and the Kerala Dam Safety Authority.