Incessant downpour wreaked havoc across nine of the 14 districts in Kerala on Tuesday. Rains are likely to continue for the next five days, according to the forecast by Met office, Thiruvananthapuram. Train and road traffic has been hit, with rail track caught in flood in various points.
“Monsoon has caused Rs 1,047-crore worth damages on roads, according to the first estimate,” says Kerala works minister G Sudhakaran.
With the water-level in Asia’s highest arch dam, Idukky, close to full capacity, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is readying to open it’s Cheruthoni sluice-gates. Water-level has been inching to the red-alert level at 2,399 ft, on the opening of the shutter. This floodgate has not been opened since 1992. When the water-level touched 2,395 ft, the state government declared an orange-alert.
“Since the rate of growth in water-level has slowed, there is no urgency for trial run, for the moment,” state water resources minister Mathew T Thomas said on Tuesday.
Arrangements have been made to evacuate the residents living around the low-lying areas on the downstream. Besides, contingents of Army, Navy, Air Force, coast guard and a 1,000-strong police force have camping in the area to tackle any eventuality.
Idukky reservoir has a cluster of three dams — Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu. The last two dams take care of KSEB’s 780 MW hydel power project. Idukky dam, a tourist sight, with its 550-foot high, double curvature dam on Periyar river is poised between two natural granite boulders called Kuravan and Kurathi.
Catchment area of Idukky had received 192.3 cm of rainfall this year. This is 49% more than what it received the previous year. State Disaster Management Authority has declared two districts — Alapuzha and Kottayam, which suffered huge crop losses, as ‘flood-hit’.