IDUKKI: The rising water level in the Idukki dam (it was 2,394.36 feet on Sunday) has triggered fear among the people in the downstream areas. Once it reaches 2,395 ft, an orange alert will be issued to the local people, who then will have to find refuge at a relative’s house or at a relief camp until the flood water recedes.
If the dam was opened, thousands of people will be affected by the swelling waters between Thadyambad, Karimban and Injivarakkuth areas near Cheruthoni that lie on the banks of the Cheruthoni River, through which the released water from the dam should flow.
Though the district administration has identified centres to be opened as temporary shelters, it will be a difficult task considering the large number of people to be rehabilitated. Since a majority of the residents here are poor people, they said they cannot afford a new house and will have to spend sleepless nights at the refugee camps.
Fifty-two-year-old Sulaikha, of Kandathinkarayil house, Cheruthoni, told Express she will have to shift her two daughters to the relief camp once the dam shutters are opened. Sulaikha, who is a widow, has been living here for the past 30 years. She said if the authorities are releasing water all at once, she would lose everything which she has saved through her lifetime.
“When the shutters of the dam were opened last in 1992, our houses and properties were severely damaged. However, we overcame the crisis years after,” she said, pointing at her ramshackle house.
It is the same case with many other families living on the banks of the Cheruthoni River.
Sulaikha’s neighbour Thankachan said the open well he dug a few years ago will get filled in the flood, which he will have to dig again after the water recedes. This will be the second time he would be digging since the opening of the dam shutters in 1992. The heavy rain has also resulted in a sudden rise in the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam as well. The water level in the Mullaperiyar dam was 135.09 ft against the full reservoir level of 142 ft on Sunday.
An official of the revenue department said that all precautionary measures have been taken in view of the rising water level in the two dams.