Six shutters of the Mullaperiyar reservoir in Idukki in Kerala and controlled by the Tamil Nadu government were opened by Friday evening and four more were slated to be opened as overnight rainfall triggered huge inflows from the catchment area. The six shutters were letting out 1,064 cusecs of water after being raised by 30 cm each. This came even as India Meteorological Department (IMD) declared in the evening that the overarching zone of monsoon turbulence over Kerala and Tamil Nadu had begun to weaken and showed signs of regrouping over the North Peninsula.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had in the morning written to his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin requesting an immediate review of the situation in Mullaperiyar and initiating action to prevent any mishap on this side of the inter-state border. State Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine, too, had written to his counterpart Durai Murugan in this context. The first shutter was opened around Friday noon, followed closely by two more, sources said.
Malampuzha, Thenmala dams open
Elsewhere in Kerala, shutters of two large dams of Malapmpuzha (Palakkad) and Thenmala (Kollam) were also opened though a red alert that applied to eight districts on Thursday had been withdrawn on Friday. The next-high orange alert was valid in eight districts, in all, on the day. Meanwhile, an alert has been issued to the inhabitants of downstream areas of both Idukki and Kallada reservoirs and along the banks of the Rivers Periyar and River Kallada respectively
The IMD said the monsoon trough over land remained southward of its normal position, which retained its active status. The shear zone too will switch itself in close proximity over the North Peninsula and adjoining Central India in the next three days, bringing the best of monsoon and flooding rain into the region. A low-pressure area forming off the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha coast in the next couple of days will further add to the intensity of the monsoon.
Idukki may follow suit
Sources in the government said though the situation is not anywhere close to the historic floods of 2018 or 2019, the Idukki reservoir may be opened sooner than later. The condition on the banks of the Chalakkudi River in Thrissur district that threatened to go out of hand last night (Thursday), however, is now under control, according to the Revenue Minister K Rajan who represents the district in the Cabinet.
Red alert called off
Rivers Periyar and Moovattupzha were flowing under the danger mark, but authorities have sounded a vigil here as well. Affected people have been evacuated from Alappuzha where several of the major rivers empty themselves into. Stayboats were kept on standby in the vulnerable Kuttanad lands here on Friday. A holiday was declared for educational institutions in the Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Palakkad, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta, Wayanad, and Kannur district.