A view of the Cheruthoni dam of Idukki reservoir when its 2nd shutter were opened at 12 pm on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Three shutters of Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir, one of the largest in Asia, were opened at 11 am on Tuesday after the water level crossed the red alert level.

Wide preparations were done prior to the dam opening which included shifting of 64 families on the downstream area. The water level reached 2,398. 4 ft at 8 am (red alert level at 2,397.86 ft).

Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty and Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine held a top level meeting and reviewed the situation of the downstream area prior to the dam opening.

Following a warning siren at 10.55 am the third shutter was opened first and the second shutter was opened after five minutes after reviewing the water situation downstream and the fourth shutter was also opened after five minutes.

Prior to the opening of the Cheruthoni dam, the water from the Idamalayar dam on the downstream was.opened at 6 am.

The shutters of the Cheruthoni dam were opened last in 2018 following heavy rains. The dam opening resulted in large-scale damage to Idukki and Ernakulam districts as a high volume of water was released through the Periyar in a short time. Following this, the Central Water Commission (CWC) issued new rule curve levels to the dams in Kerala to avoid a situation of sudden release of large volumes of water.

A review meeting held at the collectorate by Mr Augustine on Monday decided to open the dam in the wake of waters reaching red alert level and IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) prediction of heavy rainfall in the State from Wednesday.

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