CHERUTHONI: Traversing the landslide-ravaged villages from Adimali to Murikkassery, it was a journey through death and devastation. Amid heavy rain, huge boulders hung dangerously over the roads. Excitement mixed with anxiety was the norm at Cheruthoni on Thursday evening, given the historic prospect of all five shutters of the Cheruthoni dam being kept open on Friday to regulate the heavy inflow of water into the Idukki reservoir.
As announced, at 7.03 am the second shutter was opened and water gushed down in snowy hue. Two minutes on, the third shutter also went up. While the sight was more aesthetic than fearsome, the scene downstream was soon to become quite the opposite. The river had breached the banks and had hit the backyards of a few houses. A small bridge at Karimban lay submerged. At the dam site, despite three shutters being kept open, the inflow was rising by the minute. By 11.30 am, KSEB had decided to release up to 300 cumecs, up from 125 cumecs.
A crowd had gathered at the view point, jostling for space with the mediapersons. The same was the case at the road leading to the foot of the dam. Down in the Cheruthoni town, the water level was inching closer to the bridge. A 50-member team from the National Disaster Response Force had arrived and they were busy assembling equipment. The cops had a hard time shooing away the crowd gathering around the stream. Collector Jeevan Babu too had arrived at Cheruthoni to review the situation.
The scene was fast changing. From curiosity, to excitement and to anxiety and fear. The water level was rising at an alarming rate. People started rushing home to shift their valuables to safer places. At noon, one more shutter was opened and the outflow reached 350 cumecs. Still, the water released was not matching the inflow of 543 cumecs.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is currently undertaking an aerial survey of flood-ravaged districts of the state. However, due to inclement weather, the Vijayan's helicopter could not land at Kattapana in Idukki, where he had called a meeting to review the situation in the backdrop of the open the ing of five shutters of Idukki Dam, government sources said. Vijayan is scheduled to visit relief camps and attend a review meeting post the survey.
Heavy rainfall likely till Tuesday
The Indian Meteorological Department has sounded the likelihood of heavy rainfall in the state till Tuesday.
Heavy Rainfall Likely Till Tuesday
Rescue Teams Deployed
30 members of Madras Engineering Group of Indian Army deployed at Chendamangalam to carry out emergency rescue work and construction of temporary bridges in case of wash-out. Besides, Disaster Response Team of Coast Guard, 37 members of National Disaster Response Force and two wings of Navy have been deployed
(With inputs from ANI)