Shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam will have to be opened as water has touched the Full Reservoir Level of 142 feet.
Kochi: Mullaperiyar Dam, the massive mud dam built by the British, has filled up for the first time in many years when the waters touched the Full Reservoir Level of 142 feet at around 1 pm.
Very soon, the crest gates will be opened and this will cause massive flooding of downstream areas of the Periyar, including Kochi and the international airport.
Though the dam is in Kerala, its control is under Tamil Nadu according to an agreement signed during the British rule.
Tamil Nadu has refused to take the excess waters, leaving Kerala with no option but to let the excess water to the Periyar. Moreover, the region is experiencing heavy rains.
A red alert has been sounded downstream and massive evacuation process has started.
The toll in the present monsoon fury has touched 45, many due to landslides.
Air, road and rail traffic has been badly hit. A luxury Airavat bus belonging to Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has been precariously caught in one of the streams.
For the first time, the Cochin International Airport was shut till Saturday after flood water completely submerged the runway.
“Operations were suspended after water reached the runaway in the early hours of Wednesday. Most of the incoming flights are diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikkode airports,” an airport spokesman said on Wednesday.
The airport is situated near the bank of swollen Periyar river. Heavy flooding of the airport and surrounding areas was due to the opening of the shutters of Idamlayar, Idukki and Mullaperiyar dams.
Sluice gates of 33 of the 39 dams have now been opened across the state.
The Kerala government has sought more contingents of the army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to combat the serious flood situation in the state. A red alert has been sounded in 12 of the 14 districts of the state.
Train services have been disrupted at many places after the flood swept away many bridges. The rail service between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari is among those that have been suspended