Kochi: The district administration in Ernakulam is gearing up with a slew of measures including plans for the evacuation of the people in the event of releasing water from Idukki and Edamalayar dams flooding the banks of River Periyar in the district. According to a senior district administration official four taluks – Aluva, Paravoor, Kunnathunadu and Kotha-mangalam – have been ide-ntified as the areas likely to be hit by the gushing of water in the river if the shutters of the dams were opened.
The panchayat-level estimates of the likely number of families needed to be evacuated are also being prepared, the official said. Revenue officials were also instructed to identify the possible relief camps in the event of evacuation of the people. The district collector is likely to hold a meeting on Sunday if needed to review the situation, the official added.
Water level in the Idukki Dam has reached 2,393 feet from the sea level, just 2 feet lower than level for issuing the Orange Alert. Electricity Minister M.M. Mani meanwhile has hinted at the possibility of opening the shutters of the dam even before the water level reaching 2,400 ft, the maximum capacity of the dam. The idea of releasing water from the dam before reaching the maximum storage level has been explored to minimise possible damages in the downstream areas.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has already provided maps of vulnerable areas within 100 metres on either side of the banks of the River Periyar. Sekhar L Kuriakose, member secretary of the KSDMA, has ruled out the need for large-scale evacuation of the people as water will be released only in a regulated manner.
According to him authorities concerned would release water in a staggered manner to keep the velocity of the water at the minimum. In the first stage 50 cubic metre water per second is likely to be released, he added.
Apart from the people living on both sides of the river another concern is the possibility of premises of Cochin International Airport Ltd getting flooded. Possibility of the airport Ltd getting flooded looks remote as the authorities have taken steps check water intrusion after the experience in 2013, sources said.
The Chief Engineer (Dam Safety) Kerala State Electricity Board has already sent a message to the district collector to advise the people living on both sides of the Periyar River to remain on high alert as the water could be released from Idukki and Edamalayar dams....