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Mullaperiyar: Kerala draws TN’s attention to rising reservoir level

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 08, 2020 Published on August 08, 2020

A file picture of the Mullaiperiyar Dam   -  B Jothi Ramalingam

The Government of Kerala has requested the Government of Tamil Nadu to release water from the Mullaperiyar dam along the inter-state border, once the reservoir level reaches 136 ft. The request was made in a letter by the Vishwas Mehta, Kerala Chief Secretary, and addressed to K Shanmughan, his counterpart in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala has also requested that it should be notified 24 hours in advance of opening of the shutters. The letter from Mehta is in the context of the heavy rain that are lashing the state causing many rivers to overflow, and has triggered a massive landslide on Friday at Rajamalai hills, not too far way from the more-than-a-century-old reservoir.

Extended red alert in Idukki

The heavy rain in the catchment area has caused the reservoir level to move up fast from a level of 116.20 ft on August 3 to almost 132 ft, as of now. A red alert has been declared in the district for the next two days as well, increasing the risk from continued intense precipitation. The reservoir level shot up seven ft during the 24 hours, ending Friday noon.

Mehta has requested his counterpart to keep his government informed about the schedule of opening the surplus shutters of the Periyar dam in Tamil Nadu, 23,000 cusecs let out, which had added to the flood misery in Kerala in 2018. The same mode of communication was warranted in the case of operations in the Parambikkulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) system, he added.

Landslide toll rises to 24

Meanwhile, rescue teams operating on the treacherously wet and slushy terrain left behind by the massive landslide at Rajamalai hills have recovered seven more bodies on Saturday, taking their total number to 24. At least 48 people are still believed to be trapped under tons of debris or swept under by the torrents.

The loose Earth, rocks and huge rubbles triggered by the heavy rain had descended on at least three lines of tenements with 78 occupants, mostly plantation labourers. Eleven of them have been saved and are undergoing treatment at hospitals. Heavy rain was being reported on Saturday from neighbouring Pathanamthitta district. But, major reservoirs are only half full as on date.

IMD issues red, orange alerts

On Saturday, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority cited extended red alert from the India Meteorological Department for Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, and Idukki districts and Idukki, Mapappuram and Wayand on Sunday. Orange alert is valid in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, and Kasaragod on Saturday.

On Sunday, the orange alert is in place for Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod and on Monday, Malapuram and Kannur, even as a fresh low-pressure area is expected to form in the Bay of Bengal. Its location in the Bay would be crucial to watch since any such system rearing its head near the Odisha cast and heading inland could bring even more rain for Kerala.

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Published on August 08, 2020
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