Mullaperiyar dam opened, red alert at Idukki reservoir

Mullaperiyar dam opened, red alert sounded at Idukki reservoir

People living downstream of Mullaperiyar dam were evacuated as a measure of abundant caution

Mullaperiyar dam at Idukki district in Kerala. Credit: Special Arrangement

Spillway shutters of Mullaperiyar dam at Idukki district in Kerala were opened by Tamil Nadu authorities on Friday morning as the water level in the reservoir crossed 138 feet.

People living along the banks of Periyar river in Kerala were shifted as a measure of abundant caution before the two spillway shutters were opened. 

Tamil Nadu government officials raised by 0.30 metres the spillway shutters 3 and 4 of the 126-year-old dam at around 7.30 am. According to PTI, 538.16 cusecs of water has been flowing out of these two shutters of the dam since morning.

In view of the opening of Mullaperiyar dam and predictions of more rains in the catchment areas, the government has also sounded a red alert in Idukki reservoir.

The shutters of the dam were last opened during 2018 floods. 

Kerala has been demanding decommissioning of the dam citing safety concerns and mooting constructing a new one but Tamil Nadu, which is managing the dam, has been opposing it. 

The Supreme Court on Thursday maintained that the water level should be maintained at 139.5 feet till November 10 as per the rule curve.

Meanwhile, many parts of south and central Kerala received heavy rains and suffered minor landslide on Thursday night. No casualty was reported.

Besides officials from the two states, Kerala Revenue Minister K Rajan and Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine were present during the opening of the shutters of the dam. Talking to reporters, Rajan said there was no need for any panic as the government has taken measures to ensure safety of the people. He, however, urged the people to maintain vigil.

According to officials a total of 1,079 people from 350 families who would be affected by the two-foot-high flood have been evacuated. Mullaperiyar dam, built in 1895 on Periyar river in Idukki district of Kerala, is operated by the Tamil Nadu government for its irrigation and power generation needs. Kerala is insisting on building a new dam, citing safety concerns, but Tamil Nadu is against it, saying the present structure was strong.

(With inputs from PTI)

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