Idukki (Kerala): Thousands living around the Idukki dam and in Ernakulam and Thrissur heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday as the heavy rains predicted in Kerala did not happen and as a result, the Idukki dam waters ravaging the area over the last few days subsided.
“The rains have slowed down in and around the Idukki dam since last night and hence the water level in the dam has also come down,” State Power Minister M.M. Mani said.
“So far things are fine and everything is going as planned. The water that came down the five floodgates, barring at Cheruthoni, has not caused any major crisis,” added Mani, who is monitoring the situation from here.
Cheruthoni is the nearest town to the Idamalayar dam and with water gushing down the spillway for the first time in 26 years, there was heavy flooding in the area.
The Cheruthoni bridge continued to be submerged. It had come under severe stress with huge trees that have been uprooted coming and hitting the bridge. The water level at the Idukki dam was now at 2,401 feet after it came down on Friday night as the intensity of the rains decreased.
On Saturday, the inflow into the dam stood at 6,00,000 litres of water per second, while the outflow through the floodgates is 7.50 lakh litres per second. Authorities on Friday expected that parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts would be submerged following the opening of all five floodgates. However, this did not happen as the dam water entered the tributaries of the Periyar river in a systematic manner.
According to informed sources, if the water level in the dam comes down to 2,400 feet, it was likely to bring down the outflow through the five shutters as well — to around 5,00,000 litres per second.
On Saturday morning, a team led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accompanied by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, State Forest Minister P. Raju, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behra took off in a helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram to survey the worst affected districts.
Even though their first stop was planned at Idukki, Vijayan wrote in his Facebook post that due to bad weather conditions at the landing area in Kattapana, they have been forced to travel to Wayanad. The floods have claimed 27 lives so far.