Idukki: all 5 shutters raised, discharge increased

Idukki: all 5 shutters raised, discharge increased

A view of the Idukki Dam as water level continued to rise in the reservoir in Iduki dam area of Kerala on Friday. A red alert was issued for Idukki and its adjoining districts in view of the possibility of release of more water from the Idukki reservoir. PTI

With heavy rainfall continuing in the catchment areas of Idukki, all five shutters in the Cheruthoni dam were raised by Friday to release water from the reservoir even as concerns remained over the steady inflow and forecast of more rain.

Shutters in the dam were raised for the third time in the history of the Idukki hydro-electric project and the first time since 1992.

Idukki District Collector Jeevan Babu K said the release of water over two days had not led to a fall in water level at the reservoir. At 5 pm, the level stood at 2401.76 ft against a full reservoir level of 2403 ft.

“The district administration and the KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board) have decided to increase the discharge from 600 cumecs (six lakh litres per second) to 750 cumecs, from 5 pm. A decision on further increasing the discharge will be taken later,” the Collector said.

Later, in a 6 pm update, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority recorded a marginal fall in the level, at 2401.7 ft.

Cheruthoni town in Idukki, the first point of impact, reported severe damage following the release of water from the dam. Evacuation in vulnerable areas was done well ahead of the decision to open sluices in the dam.

Crop loss, extensive damage to property and damage to low-level bridges was also reported from Idukki. The first shutter in the Cheruthoni dam was raised, as part of a four-hour trial run on Thursday, but the release was kept extended and two more sluices were kept open through the night.

The banks of river Periyar, downstream areas in Ernakulam district where the impact of the release of water is set to reflect, are on alert. Chief Secretary Tom Jose said till noon on Friday, 64 relief camps were functioning in the district, housing 9,417 people.

The total number of camps in the district could be increased to 210 and the number of people being shifted could touch 25,000.

Till evening, no disruptions were reported in operations in the Cochin International Airport. In a 5 pm update, airport authorities said the runway and apron were in “perfect condition” and flight operations were safe.