Idukki Dam Full , Villagers around are in panic

Published on: 24 Sep, 2013
Published under: Idukki District News

23 September 2013

Panic is soaring in three districts of Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam as incessant heavy rains in the catchment areas are flooding Idukki hydel project’s reservoirs. The soaring water level in the dam’s main reservoir in Idukki district has crossed 2401.70 feet which is less than 2 feet below its full capacity. If the water level touches 2402.

15 feet, the dam’s shutters will have to be opened which is feared to flood the Periyar river causing immense hardships to thousands of inhabitants living on the banks downstream like mass evacuation and damage to houses and crops.

People in neighbouring towns like Kochi and Aluva too are in panic because the low-lying areas there too are likely to be flooded in case river Periyar swells. Floodwater from smaller reservoirs near Sabarimala shrine swelled the holy river Pampa breaching the banks and inundating roads which left hundreds of pilgrims to the hill shrine stranded hours on September 21.

The last time when the dam’s shutters were opened twice in the last 2 decades in 1981 and 1992 the water levels touched 2400.99 feet and 2402.38 feet respectively. Shutters were opened before that in 1981 during heavy monsoons.

The 37 year-old Idukki hydropower project (780 mw) on Periyar river is Kerala’s largest and its 168 meter-tall main dam located in the ravines between two mountains is one of Asia’s tallest Arch Dams. The project consists of two more dams besides Idukki and together they have created an artificial reservoir with 60 sq km in area.

The likely opening of shutters again has spread great panic among not just the thousands of families living downstream but even in neighbouring districts like Ernakulam and Kottayam.  At least 100 families staying nearest panchayats of the reservoir are likely to be temporarily evicted.

Temporary shelters have been set up seven villages for relocating 93 families which are to be affected most if shutters are opened. Disaster Management teams have also been deployed in the zone. An Emergency Cell has been opened at the Cochin International Airport near Ernakulam as the runway is likely to be flooded with increasing water in Periyar river.


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