All 5 shutters of Idukki Dam opened; High alert issued

Moves are going on to open the fifth shutter of the dam also.

Painavu: A high alert has been issued in Idukki district following chaos and devastation as the raging monsoon unleashed torrential rains across Kerala. All the 5 shutters of Idukki Cheruthoni dam were opened on Friday, following the heavy rain and intense water flow. Yesterday, only one shutter was opened and 2 more shutters were opened on Friday morning. By afternoon, with the heavy rains continuing, the KSEB authorities decided to raise the 5th gate too. With this, all five shutters are opened.

The water level in the dam has reached 2401.60 feet. Maximum storage capacity of the dam is 2403 feet. The water level reached 2400.28 feet by Thursday at 11 pm and rose to 2400.88 feet on Friday at 5 am.

The shutters are opened by 1 metre now. The middle shutter was opened by 50 cm on Thursday and this was reduced to 40 cm. The second and fourth shutters were also opened by 7 am on Friday. The first shutter was opened at 1 pm.

6 lakh litre water will be released per second. This is double the quantity of water released on Thursday.

People who dwell on the banks of the Periyar river and Cheruthoni river have been cautioned. The water level in the dam is rising on an alarming rate due to the downpour in the catchment areas.

Union minister Alphons Kannamthanam said he discussed the flood situation in Kerala with Home Minister Rajnath Singh this morning. "The Government of India is providing all the required assistance including services of armed forces, disaster management team and other required assistance. Any other immediate assistance requested by the Government of Kerala will be provided," he said in a Facebook post.

Col Ajai Sharma, the Commandant of DSC Centre, who is overseeing relief and rescue operations, said five columns of Army has been deployed in the northern districts since last night. "The haphazard development along the streams has affected the natural flow of rivers, which is a challenge right now," he said.

Small bridges have been constructed to evacuate stranded people in various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad areas, and rescue operations are currently underway.

"The situation is under control," he said.

Meanwhile, state Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan reviewed the flood situation and the precautionary measures to be taken in Aluva and nearby areas in view of the possibility of increase in the water level following release of more water from Idukki reservoir.

Periyar river in Aluva is already in spate following release of water from Idamalayar dam and people living in low-lying areas have been asked to be vigilant.

Cochin International Airport Limited sources said operations at the airport had not been affected. There was no need to suspend flights and there has been no cancellations. "The operational area is intact. No cancellation of services so far," an airport spokesperson said. (With PTI inputs)

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