Tamil Nadu opens shutters of Mullaperiyar dam, irks Kerala

Updated on Dec 07, 2021 04:58 AM IST

Kerala water resources minister Roshy Augustine rushed to Idukki after many areas in downstream got inundated

Two shutters of Mullaperiyar dam opened following a rise in its water level, in Idukki on October 29. (ANI)
Two shutters of Mullaperiyar dam opened following a rise in its water level, in Idukki on October 29. (ANI)
ByHTC and Agency

Idukki (Kerala): Tamil Nadu opened nine shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam on Monday night in view of the rising water level in the reservoir and shut down three of them after 10 pm, the Idukki district administration said.

Kerala water resources minister Roshy Augustine rushed to Idukki after many areas in downstream got inundated. “The decision of the Tamil Nadu was irresponsible,” the minister said.

The district administration, in a statement, said all nine shutters of the dam, which were initially opened at 7.45 pm by 60 centimetres each, were raised by 120 cm (1.20m) to release 12,654.09 cusecs of water. Thereafter, three of the shutters were shut down at 10 pm and six were kept open to release 8,380.50 cusecs of water, it added.

The Tamil Nadu authorities had raised the shutters to 120 cm after the water level of the dam reached 141.90 feet at 8.30 pm.

This is first time nine shutters of Mullaperiyar are getting opened at night. According to district officials, more than 100 families have been shifted from Idukki.

Augustine said the issue of water being released at night would be raised before the Supreme Court. He added that he will be present at Idukki to help with the rescue efforts and to persuade people to evacuate to camps wherever necessary.

The Mullaperiyar dam, built in 1895 on the Periyar river in Idukki district of Kerala, is operated by the Tamil Nadu government for its irrigation and power needs. Kerala has been insisting on building a new dam, citing safety concerns, but Tamil Nadu is against it, saying the present structure is strong.

Meanwhile, the Idukki district administration sounded an orange alert as the water level in the reservoir there touched 2,401.12 feet.

The authorities also expect further rise in water level in Idukki reservoir due to the excess flow of water to it from the Mullaperiyar dam.

They said that if the water in the reservoir rises excessively, one shutter of Cheruthoni dam will be raised at 6 am on Tuesday from 40 cm to 150 cm.

The district collector said that people in the area below the Cheruthoni dam and on both sides of the Periyar should be extremely careful.

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