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Monday, November 28, 2011

Mullaperiyar dam: High alert in Idduki

A high alert has been issued in Idduki as the water level in Mullaperiyar dam on Monday crossed 136 ft, the maximum permissible storage limit. All the shutters of the dam have been opened and water is flowing to the Idukki dam and to other dams of the district like Cheruthni and Kulamavu.

On Monday morning, the water level reached 136.6 ft causing serious concern over the safety of the 116-year-old dam. It is also spilling over five out of the 13 spillways and rising every hour as heavy rain continues in most parts of the district. Thousands of residents in the downstream of the dam like Chappath, Upputhara, Kumili, Kattappana and Vandanmedu are a worried lot.

The district authorities had set up disaster management units. District collector E Devadasan said all arrangements had been made to meet any emergency situation.

Meanwhile, the hartal called by both the United Democratic Front and Left Democratic Front was total in the district and there is now a strong agitation to de-commission the dam immediately and construct a new one. The BJP has called for a 12-hour hartal in Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts tomorrow (November 29).

Thousands of people including women and children blocked the Kollam-Theni national highway and other roads. Effigies of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa were burnt at several places. Hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying pilgrims to Sabarimala, were held up in the blockade for several hours.

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