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Kerala bans tourism, night travel in Idukki after IMD issues 'very heavy rainfall' warning: Govt likely to open dam shutters

The Idukki district administration in Kerala has banned tourism and late night travel in the district starting Friday in view of the heavy to very heavy rain forecast in Kerala and Lakshadweep in the next two-three days. A red alert has been issued in three districts of Idukki, Thrissur and Palakkad on Thursday following an IMD forecast of heavy to very heavy rains in the state in the next two-three days.

All tourist centres, including Neelakurinji gardens in Munnar in Idukki which tourists were likely to visit, have been shut down from Friday until further orders. The Neelakurinji is a flower, which blooms in the western ghats once in 12 years. Tourists flock to Munnar to get a glimpse of this rare flower.

 Kerala bans tourism, night travel in Idukki after IMD issues very heavy rainfall warning: Govt likely to open dam shutters

Satellite images obtained by IMD shows increasing cloud cover over southern India. IMD

Decision on opening dam shutters likely today

Meanwhile, the Kerala district authorities have also started preparations to open the shutters of the Idukki dam. Senior officials were expected to meet Friday at 10 am to take a final decision on the same.

Although the water level in the Idukki dam is only 83 percent, the authorities are considering the option of reopening the shutters of the Idukki dam in view of the rise in the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam following rain in its catchment areas.

On Thursday, four shutters of the Malampuzha dam in Palakkad were opened by 9 cm each, ANI had reported. Most reservoirs in Kerala hold water up to 90 percent of their capacity at present, and water level in most reservoirs are around 90 percent level now.

The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) had asked the state water resources department and Kerala State Electricity Board to submit a water control framework with regard to the dams under their control considering the current level, long-term storage and rain forecast. Executive engineers controlling dams were asked to keep in touch with district collectors and not to open the shutters without the permission of the district administration.

The KSDMA had also decided to request the Central Water Commission to issue directions to Tamil Nadu to open the shutters of all dams under their control in the state in advance in view of the heavy rainfall forecast by the IMD. It is also likely to decide on the preventive steps to avoid a flood-like situation in the state that is still recovering from the massive damage caused by a deluge and heavy Monsoon rains in August this year.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall expected in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

The Indian Meteorological Department had issued a warning on Thursday, saying, Kerala and Lakshadweep will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall in next two-three days. It had also said that lower riparian states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are also likely to receive heavy to moderate rainfall over the same span.

The IMD also released a rainfall forecast for the districts in Kerala:

According to the IMD, a low pressure is likely to form over southeast Arabian Sea on Thursday and it is likely to concentrate into a depression and move north-westwards during subsequent 48 hours. It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm thereafter, the IMD said in a press released issued on Thursday at 1.40 pm. With the depression intensifying, the coastal areas would witness strong winds and fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea between 6 and 8 October.

In the wake of the forecast, the state government has decided to take precautionary measures to deal with any eventuality. Since there is possibility of floods, people living on the banks of rivers and streams have been asked to move to relief camps. Relief camps have also been opened at Cheruthoni and other places on the banks of Periyar River.

Necessary instructions have been given to district collectors to set up relief camps in hilly areas by Friday as there is a possibility of landslides and people living in such places should follow the instructions of the officials, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram. The state government has said that it would seek deployment of five more teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Oct 05, 2018 10:25:30 IST