August 1, 2018
Kochi: Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) appears adamant to hold water for longer time, while the government is in a hurry to lift the shutters of the Idukki dam causing worries to many, including Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) at Nedumbassery fearing inundation.
Fortunately, rainfall has thinned down in the catchment areas of the dam in Peermedu and Udumbanchola, helping KSEB store more water. The government is concerned over the increasing water level and possible destruction it might cause if water release is delayed.
As KSEB has become free from government controls, it remains to be seen who will call the shots.
Idukki Collector K Jeevan Babu told The Covai Post that there was no scope of discharging water as it remained at safe levels and had not touched the mark, necessitating issuance of red alert.
Only orange alert had been sounded to caution people, he said. Some people had vacated their homes and some had moved to safer places. The district administration had not evicted anyone, he added.
Regarding the decision on releasing of water, he said it would be taken by the Cabinet. On the other hand, sounding of orange alert after increase in water level to 167.03 metre against 169 metre in Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam had added to the worries of the district administration where the international airport and many industries are present.
Discharge of water will submerge low-lying areas in Ernakulam and the airport is one of the vulnerable zones. Water entered the runway in 2013 after which the airport took steps to prevent
recurrence of such incident, top sources in the CIAL told TCP. The airport had set up a diversionary canal to carry flood water to the sea in case of flash floods, the sources said.
The flooding in 2013 had happened due to the mistake of KSEB releasing water without any warning, they added.
Things would really become serious if water is released from Idukki and Idamalayar dams. Orange alert has been issued at Kakki dam in Pathanamthitta which is part of the Sabarigiri power project. Water level crossed 980 meters against the full level of 981.46 metres in the dam.
Meanwhile, water was released from Malampuzha dam after the level reached 114.86 metres against its full level of 115.06 metres today.
Water gushed out when the shutters were lifted to 3 cm around 11.45 am sending water through Kalpathipuzha to Bharathapuzha. In 2013 and 2014, water was released from the dam. It was released intermittently from August 15 to November 8. The district authorities have taken all precautionary measures for the safety of people living downstream.
Shutters of Neyyar, Aruvikkara and Peppara were opened a few days back. The Meteorological Centre has predicted heavy rain in the State till August 2.