Idukki dam shutter raised to accomodate water released from Mullaperiyar

The Mullaperiyar Dam. File photo: Manorama

Idukki: One of the shutters of the Idukki Cheruthoni dam was raised on Tuesday to accommodate the water released from Mullaperiyar dam earlier that day.

The district authorities have sounded an alert in the region and have urged those living on and near the banks of the Periyar river to be vigilant.

Kerala Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine, who was present at Idukki, told reporters that rescue forces have already been deployed based on information received from the Tamil Nadu government.

The minister also said that he will be present at Idukki to help with the rescue efforts and to persuade people to evacuate to camps wherever necessary.

The dam shutter was raised by 40cm at 6 am on Tuesday. Around 40,000 litres of water per second is flowing out of the dam at the moment.

The authorities also expect a further rise in the water level in the Idukki reservoir due to the excess flow of water to it from the Mullaperiyar dam.

This is the fourth time this year that Idukki shutters were raised.

Tamil Nadu raised nine shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam on Monday night in view of the rising water level in the reservoir and shut three of them after 10 pm.

In a statement, the Idukki district administration said nine shutters of the dam, which were initially opened at 7:45 pm by 60 centimetres each, were raised by 120 cm (1.20m) to release 12654.09 cusecs of water.

Thereafter, three of the shutters were shut down at 10 pm and six were kept open to release 8380.50 cusecs of water, it said.

The Tamil Nadu authorities had raised the shutters to 120 cm after the water level of the over a century-old dam reached 141.90 feet at 8:30 pm.

About 142 cubic feet of water is released through the one shutter which is opened now.

Also, Tamil Nadu reduced the amount of water being diverted to its side. Now, they are taking only 900 cubic feet of water.

Water entered the houses situated on the banks of the Periyar river at Vallakadavu the other day after Tamil Nadu released a large quantity of water through the spillway. The residents were then moved to safer places. 

Roshy Augustine said that this issue of water being released at night would be raised before the Supreme Court.

The Mullaperiyar dam, built in 1895 on the Periyar river in the Idukki district of Kerala, is operated by the Tamil Nadu government for its irrigation and power needs.

The Supreme Court, in an order of May 7, 2014, had directed that that water could be stored up to 142 feet.

The dam is at the centre of a row between the two states, while the Kerala government is batting for a new dam at Mullaperiyar, Tamil Nadu says the present dam is strong enough.

Plea for central forces in Mullaperiyar

A lawyer from Tamil Nadu has approached the Supreme Court with the demand that the Central forces should be deployed at the Mullaperiyar dam site to ensure its safety.

Lawyer Stalin Bhaskaran has raised the apprehension in his petition that there is every chance of the Mullaperiyar dam being attacked by political and social activists from Kerala with the backing of the State Government.

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