Tamil Nadu opens Mullaperiyar dam; Kerala's Idukki on high alert
- Mullaperiyar Dam was built in 1895 on the Periyar River in the Idukki district of Kerala.
Tamil Nadu on Friday raised shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam located in the upper reaches of the Periyar River in Kerala to release the excess water filled to the brim. People familiar with the matter said that at least 3,000 people living downstream of Mullaperiyar dam were evacuated as a precautionary measure. The water is expected to reach Idukki reservoir in the neighbouring Kerala in a few hours, with the district put on high alert.
Many houses have been submerged since the dam opened at 7am on Friday, however, no untoward incident was reported.
Water from the Mullaperiyar dam is being released to maintain its level at 138 feet and will reach Idukki reservoir in two hours. If need arises, Idukki dam might be opened too to ease the pressure, people familiar with the matter said.
Kerala water resources minister Roshy Augustine, in a press release issued on Thursday, urged people not to panic and added that there was nothing to be concerned about. He said the storage capacity of Idukki was 70.5 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) as compared to 12.758 TMC of Mullaperiyar and therefore, the water released from the latter would only raise the former's level by a quarter of a foot.
"Therefore, Idukki will be able to contain the water released from the Mullaperiyar,'' the minister said.
People who have been evacuated were moved to camps for accomodation.
Mullaperiyar Dam was built in 1895 on the Periyar River in the Idukki district of Kerala.
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments to abide by the decision taken by the Supervisory Committee regarding the appropriate water level in the Mullaperiyar dam. The supervisory committee has recommended maintaining the Mullaperiyar dam water level at 139.5 feet.
Meanwhile, dam authorities in Kerala are taking cognizance of the situation that can arise out of the torrential rainfall. According to the weather office, heavy rains are expected in some districts. As many as 42 people were killed in flash floods and landslides after heavy downpour in Kerala earlier this month.