One person was electrocuted to death in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday as heavy rain hit different parts of Kerala, PTI reported. The shutters of three dams in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram – Neyyar, Peppara and Aruvikkara – were opened as the water level rose.
The district collector of the capital city announced a holiday for all educational institutions except professional colleges. At least 12 new relief camps have been opened since Monday evening and 3,886 people living in the coastal areas in Alappuzha district have been shifted there.
Heavy rain continued in the catchment areas of the Idukki dam on Tuesday. Fishermen were warned not to venture into the sea along Kerala and Lakshadweep coasts as the sea condition is likely to be very rough over south west, north and central Arabian Sea. The India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall in most places across the state.
Inflow of water into Idukki reservoir falls
The Kerala State Electricity Board, which manages the Idukki reservoir, said on Tuesday that the inflow into the dam has reduced and the current situation does not warrant the opening of the floodgates.
But the water level in the Kakki dam in Pathanamthitta district, which supplies water to the Sabarigiri hydro-electric power station, touched the 980-metre level. “We have issued an orange alert now. Red alert will be issued when the level touches the 980.50-metre mark,” an electricity board official said.
The state government had on Monday issued an orange alert after the water level in Idukki reservoir touched 2,395 feet, just five feet short of full. The authorities issue a red alert at 2,399 feet. Water will be released within 24 hours of the red alert. Several residents have been evacuated from the catchment areas.
The government has alerted three districts – Idukki, Ernakulam and Kottayam.
The state has also put the Army and Navy on alert as the dam across the Periyar river is nearing its maximum storage level. A team of disaster management control force is also camping near the district headquarters, the Hindustan Times reported.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured that an orange alert does not indicate that the shutters of the dam will be opened, and added that the public will be informed well in advance if water is being released, reported The Indian Express.
He said shutters of the dam will be opened only during the day and not at night. “The situation demands our vigilance, but there is no need for panic,” Vijayan said. “It is our duty to refrain from any kind of fear mongering or misinformation.”
Revenue Minister E Chandrashekharan told the media that the government has taken all measures to ensure people’s safety in case water is released from the Idukki reservoir. “There is no need to panic,” he said. “But people have to remain alert.” Electricity minister MM Mani said the dam’s shutters will be opened when the water level touches the 2,398-feet mark.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority said the Periyar river could drown around 4,500 buildings along 100 metres of the river. “A survey conducted by the authorities mentioned that buildings along 50 metres of the dam will be affected,” Idukki Collector Jeevan Babu told The News Minute.
“The exact damage can be estimated once a proper ground study is done,” he said. “As for the damage, not all parts of the river bank will be flooded. Except for the valley, most parts of the river are narrow and in certain flat regions, water may fill up. However, if we see that the water levels are rising more than desired, we can close the shutters. The exercise will be thoroughly monitored.”
The shutters were opened just two times in the past – in October 1981 and October 1992 – during the northwest monsoon.