In the wake of rain and landslides wreaking havoc in Kerala, the state police on Tuesday issued a new warning asking people not to jump into rivers to catch fish when the dam gates are opened.
“Attention!! A dangerous trend of jumping into the river for fishing was observed when the dam was opened. We urge the public to kindly avoid such activities. Stay safe,” Kerala Police tweeted.
Dams in Kerala are filled to the brim with a red alert sounded for more than a dozen major dams in the state. Idukki, Idamalayar, Pampa and Kaki are among the four major dams out of a total of 78 dams in the state, which were opened to get rid of excess water. In addition, various county departments have issued alerts to people living downstream, diverting them to relief camps. In the past two days, more than 30 people were killed in rain-related accidents in Kerala.
Meanwhile, the shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki Reservoir in Kerala state, were opened on Tuesday to create more storage capacity in anticipation of heavy rains expected in the catchment area over the next two days. The shutters of the Edamalayar Dam in Ernakulam and Pampa in Pathanamthitta were also opened in the morning as the water in these reservoirs reached almost hazard levels.
On its Facebook page, the Kerala State Electricity Authority (KSEB) said three whistles were sounded before each of the shutters of Cherothoni Dam, which last opened three years ago, opened. The first shutter was raised at 11:00 in the morning, the second at 12:00 in the afternoon and the third at 12:30 in the afternoon.
The shutters were raised, by 35 cm, in the presence of Minister of State for Electricity Krishnankote and Minister of Kerala Water Resources Roshi Augustine who then visited Idukki Dam and Cherothoni town to assess the situation.
Speaking to reporters after opening the shutters, Augustine said: “The situation is calm now. The water flowing from the dams is flowing normally. The flow into the dam is being reduced at the moment. dam) to ensure that people do not face any problems.” Krishnankote, who also spoke to reporters, said the shutters were opened based on scientific data and the base curve.
Politicians have not decided on this. He added that the experts did it.” Earlier in the day, the shutters of the Idamalayar and Pampa khozni were opened following the increase in the water level and more rains were expected in the coming days in Kerala.
Orange alerts for 11 counties
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued orange alerts for 11 districts, excluding Kollam, Alappuzha and Kasaragod, on Wednesday and 12 districts, excluding Kannur and Kasaragod, on Thursday. An orange alert indicates that the area is expected to receive heavy to very heavy rain which can range from 64.5 mm to 204.4 mm.
According to data from the International Institute for Human Development, the southern state has already received 135 percent of the excess rain during the period 1-19. The state government on Monday opened the shutters of the Kaki and Cholyar dams to release the excess water. On Tuesday morning, Ernakulam district administration confirmed the opening of gates 2 and 3 of the Edamalayar Dam by 50 cm each.
On Tuesday, the Patanamthita district administration confirmed the opening of the 3rd and 4th gates of the Pampa Dam by 45 cm. Although the shutters of the three dams are open, the water levels in the rivers involved – particularly the Periyar and the Pampa – will not rise to levels seen in 2018, government officials said, adding that people do not need to panic for fear of a repeat. at that time.
Later in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued a statement asking people living in hilly areas, low-lying areas and along the banks of rivers, whose dams have been opened, to exercise caution and move to relief camps set up across the state. .
State Health Minister Vina George visited Aranmula-Pampa Satrakadavu district to assess the water level in the Pampa River and after that, she told reporters that as the water receded to the lower reaches of Pathanamthitta district, and in light of the IMD warning of heavy rain, from Upper Kuttanad district – where people were seen In the news channels wading in deep water – they were taken to relief camps.
Pilgrimage to the shrine of Lord Ayaba in Sabarimala canceled
Meanwhile, the district administrations of Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam have suspended all quarrying activities till October 24. In the Alofa Kaladi district of Ernakulam, fishermen and their boats were brought by trucks in preparation to rescue and evacuate stranded people should this happen. The water level in Periyar, which flows through the area, is as high as it was in 2018 when heavy rains and dams opened up on homes there.
The Ernakulam district administration also said that water from Idukki Reservoir will reach Alofa-Kaladi Basin at midnight and people should remain alert. In Alappuzha, where several places are inundated, the state has set up 100 relief camps, which are currently home to about 7,126 people from about 2,000 families.
The state government had announced on Monday that the Idukki Dam, built across the Periyar and Edamalayar rivers in Ernakulam and the Pampa dam in Pathanamthitta, would open on Tuesday. Although rainfall decreased in several parts of Kerala on Monday, after heavy rains last week, the decision was made to open the shutters of these dams as water levels there reached nearly danger signs and more rain is expected from Wednesday .
In view of the prevailing situation and anticipation of deteriorating weather, the government has canceled the pilgrimage to the shrine of Lord Ayyaba in Sabarimala for the thola massam puja. According to the state’s disaster management authority, the number of rain-related deaths in Kerala from October 12 to October 18 was 38.
During the same period, at least 90 homes were destroyed by rainfall, while 702 homes were partially damaged.
(with PTI input)