Idukki dam opening: No cause for worry, says Industries Minister Rajeeve

The Minister said that there was no need to worry as the water that will reach Periyar from Idukki Dam can be easily accommodated as the tributaries have been cleaned under 'Operation Vahini.'
An aerial view of Idukki reservoir
An aerial view of Idukki reservoir
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The Cheruthoni Dam of the Idukki reservoir is likely to be opened on August 7 to discharge excess water, Idukki district authorities said on Saturday, August 6, after the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which manages the dam, issued a red alert as the water-level has increased to 2,382.88 feet. The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet.

The Idukki reservoir consists of two dams- the Arch Dam and the Cheruthoni Dam. The shutters of the latter were opened for the first time in 26 years in 2018 to mitigate the worst flood faced by the state in a century.

Kerala Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine said that water would be released from Idukki Dam to discharge excess water and that would be contained at the Idamalayar Dam downstream. "We will be discharging some excess water tomorrow (Sunday) and plan to contain that water at Idamalayar Dam. I have called a meeting of the representatives of the local self-government bodies downstream today and will discuss the situation. Only a small quantity will be released," Roshy said.

Kerala Industries Minister P Rajeeve said that there was no need for any concern with regard to the opening of the Idukki Dam to discharge the excess water, as the distributaries and streams from Periyar river have been cleaned to ensure the natural flow of water. Rajeeve chaired a meeting of officials to evaluate the situation after the Idukki district authority decided to open the Cheruthoni Dam of the Idukki reservoir on Sunday to discharge excess water.

"Under current circumstances, there is no need to worry. The water that will reach Periyar from Idukki dam can be easily accommodated as the tributaries have been cleaned under 'Operation Vahini.' Necessary steps have been taken to shift people from the banks of the Periyar. There is no need for any concern," Rajeeve told the media. The Minister said relief camps have been opened in all Taluks downstream. Food and drinking water facilities have also been ensured in the camps, he said. He said that people have been shifted from the banks of Chalakudy river as the water-level has gone up.

Meanwhile, the water-level at the Mullaperiyar Dam, which is managed by the Tamil Nadu government, has increased to 138.15 feet and 10 shutters have been lifted, discharging 2,122 cusecs of water.

However, the rains have subsided in Kerala which has witnessed heavy showers since July 31. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has now issued a yellow warning in Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts. A red warning indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while orange warning means very heavy rains of 6 cm to 20 cm. A yellow warning means heavy rainfall between 6 and 11 cm.

Landslides occurred at Kundala estate in Idukki on Saturday, destroying a temple and two shops in the locality. A total of 175 families from the locality have been shifted to relief camps. The road to Vattavada in the district has also been isolated after getting damaged in a minor landslide.

The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) had said there are 342 active camps across the State with Thrissur and Pathanamthitta having the most numbers — 88 and 69 respectively. A total of 12,195 people are accommodated in the camps, SDMA had said. It also said that 36 houses were damaged fully while 282 houses were destroyed partially.

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