The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala, operated by Tamil Nadu, were raised on Friday morning as the water level in the reservoir crossed 138 ft, Kerala government officials said in Idukki.
Tamil Nadu government officials raised by 0.30 meters the spillway shutters 3 and 4 of the 126-year old dam at around 7:30 am, they told news agency PTI.
According to them, 538.16 cusecs of water has been flowing out of these two shutters of the dam since morning.
The water level at Mullaperiyar dam stood at 138.80 ft at 9 AM, Kerala government officials said in Idukki.
Besides officials from the two states, Kerala Revenue Minister K Rajan and Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine were present during the opening of the shutters of the dam.
Talking to reporters, Mr Rajan said there was no need for any panic as the government has taken measures to ensure safety of the people.
He, however, urged the people to maintain vigil.
The government has also warned against the social media scare mongers.
Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan, meanwhile, said the state has been continuously drawing water through tunnel to Vaigai dam.
In addition to such maximum drawing of water through tunnel, the Tamil Nadu government decided to release water from Mullperiyar dam to the tune of about ‘500 cusecs’ by opening two spillway gates from Friday morning, he said in Chennai.
This was done after giving notice and warning well in advance to Kerala authorities, Mr Duraimurugan said.
“The dam is safe and it is operated and regulated by the Water Resources Department, Government of Tamil Nadu following the Rule Curve approved by the Central Water Commission. Any news carefully contrary to the above are not correct and has to be ignored,” the Tamil Nadu Minister said in a statement.
In view of the opening of Mullaperiyar dam and predictions of more rains in the catchment areas, the Kerala government has also sounded a red alert in Idukki reservoir, reported news agency PTI.
Augustine said the Idukki reservoir has enough storage capacity to hold the water being released from Mullaperiyar dam.
The minister has said that there was nothing to be concerned about and people need not panic as the storage capacity of Idukki was 70.5 TMC as compared to 12.758 TMC of Mullaperiyar and therefore, the water released from the latter would only raise the former’s level by a quarter of a foot.
People living downstream of Mullaperiyar dam were evacuated as a measure of abundant caution ahead of raising of the shutters.
According to officials, a total of 1,079 people from 350 families who would be affected by the two-foot-high flood have been evacuated.
Mullaperiyar dam, built in 1895 on Periyar river in Idukki district of Kerala, is operated by the Tamil Nadu government for its irrigation and power generation needs.
Kerala is insisting on building a new dam, citing safety concerns, but Tamil Nadu is against it, saying the present structure was strong.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)