KOCHI: Having faced the worst natural calamity in a century, Kerala has learnt a lesson the hard way. Hardly fifty days after the devastating flood, the shadow of another disaster looms over the state. A red alert has been sounded in the districts of Idukki, Palakkad and Thrissur after the weatherman predicted heavy rain from Saturday.
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which received many brickbats for opening the dam shutters while the rivers were flowing above the danger level, seems better prepared to face the eventuality this time. The water in all major dams is maintained at a safe level.
Senior officers expressed confidence that the dams can contain the flood waters even if it rains continuously for four days. Better late than never, commented experts on the KSEB’s decision to keep the water level low.
“We’re prepared to face any eventuality. There won’t be any need to open the dam shutters even if it rains continuously for four days. We’re maintaining the water level low in major dams. The water level in Mattupatty dam is close to the full reservoir level and we’ve decided to release water from Thursday. The situation is under control and there’s no need to panic,” said KSEB chairman N S Pillai.
Landslip disrupts train service near Thrissur
Thrissur: Train service has been restricted to one track, following a minor landslip between Chalakkudy and Karukutty on Wednesday. Entire Thrissur district has been witnessing heavy rain since evening while strong winds were also felt in Chalakkudy region. According to the railway officers, “Train traffic through the other line could be resumed only after analysing the safety.”
According to the KSEB, the water level in Idukki dam is 2,387.47 feet. Though the full reservoir level is 2,403 feet, the dam can hold water up to 2,408.5 feet. “We’ve 21 feet more and the inflow is just 100 cumecs. Around 115 cumecs is used for power generation. All precautionary measures including opening of control room, constant monitoring of inflow and issuing alerts will be followed,” said KSEB chairman N S Pillai.
Technocrat and founder CEO of Technopark G Vijayaraghavan urged the government to stay alert and adopt a scientific approach to avoid another disaster.
“The government should analyse the water level in various dams and calculate the possible inflow. If it is high, then they’ve to start releasing water from Thursday. They should calculate the water level in the rivers and lakes and alert people. The government should calculate the amount of water to be released and decide on the timing of release, matching it with the high tide,” he said.
Vijayaraghavan said the government should not leave the decision on water release to the KSEB, as power generators tend to hold water to ensure maximum generation.
“The authorities should also avoid knee-jerk reaction being over conscious about the past experience. Decision on evacuation should be taken only after analysing the data scientifically and calculating the flood water level,” he said.
Shutters of Mattuppetty dam to be opened today
Idukki: In view of the India Meteorological Department’s prediction of heavy rainfall in the district till October 6, the shutters of the Mattuppetty dam will be opened at 8 am on Thursday. Two shutters of the dam will be released step by step to release 25 cumecs of water through the spillway through the Muthira river to the R A Headworks Dam in Munnar. Warning has been issued to those living in Munnar, Muthirappuzha, Kallarkutty and Lower Periyar as the water level in the rivers is expected to rise.