Arrangements in place for opening Mullaperiyar shutters

People evacuated, relief camps opened, forces deployed, special equipment kept in readiness

The district administration has completed all arrangements in view of the opening of the spillway shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam at 7 a.m. on Friday, said Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine here on Thursday night.

As per available information, 3,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water will be released from the dam. Tamil Nadu did not inform the quantum of water discharge.

The Revenue Department evacuated 100 people from Periyar village and two from Manjumala village of Peerumade taluk and two from Ayyappancoil of Idukki taluk in the morning.

Relief camps have been opened in Peerumade and Idukki taluks. Control rooms have been opened in villages under Peerumade, Udumbanchola, and Idukki taluks.

Course of water

Water released through the spillway shutters is expected to reach the first residential area of Vallakadavu through the Periyar within 20 minutes. It will move through Manjumala, Vandiperiar, Mlamala, Santhipalam, Chappathu, Alady, and Upputhara to join the Idukki reservoir waters at Ayyappancoil, 35 km from the Idukki arch dam and the Cheruthoni dam.

There will be controlled flow compared to the August 2018 situation, when water was released at 4,000 cusecs. This was at a time when the Periyar was in spate following heavy rainfall. The water caused large-scale damage to crops and houses upstream of the Idukki dam.

Meanwhile, water level continued to rise in the Mullaperiyar and Idukki reservoirs on Thursday. The water level in Mullaperiyar at 5 p.m. was 138.15 ft. As per the rule curve, the upper rule level is 138 ft till October 31.

The Government machinery was fully prepared for the release of water from the Mullaperiyar dam, Minister for Water Resources Roshy Augustine said on Thursday. Arrangements for ensuring the safety of people residing on the banks of the Periyar had been completed, he said. “Evacuation strategies will be finalised after Tamil Nadu informs Kerala about the volume of water to be released,” Mr. Augustine told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram before leaving for Idukki to oversee the arrangements.

Vehicles and special equipment and machinery had been kept in readiness for handling emergencies.

Officials deputed

“Special arrangements have been made for the evacuation of the elderly and the sick,” he said. The Revenue Divisional Officer, Idukki, was in charge of the arrangements and two deputy collectors had been specially posted in the region.

“Disaster management, revenue, and police personnel and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the region,” the Minister added.

He reiterated that the upper rule level of 138 ft was not acceptable to the State. He, nevertheless, welcomed Tamil Nadu’s readiness to release water once that level was reached and also to draw more water from the dam.

(Inputs from Thiruvananthapuram bureau)

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