FLOODING LEAVES DEATH TRAIL IN KERALA

With water levels rising in various dams due to heavy rains in the catchment areas and the eastern hilly regions of the state, the Kerala government, on Monday, issued alerts to the public that shutters of certain dams will be raised increasing water levels of rivers in the south and central Kerala.

With the water level in the Idukki reservoir, one of the highest arch dams in Asia, having risen to 2,396.96 feet Monday, an orange alert has been sounded. The full reservoir level of the Idukki dam is 2,403 feet.

As the water level at various dams including Sholayar, Pamba, Kakki and Idamalayar is rising, the state government has called a meeting which will be chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take stock of the situation.

An Orange alert has been issued for the Pamba dam and the Kakki dam will be opened before afternoon today, state health minister Veena George, who is in charge of Pathanamthitta district, has said.

The low-lying areas of Cherickal, Poozhikadu, Mudiyoorkonam and Kurambala regions near Pandalam, along the banks of Achankovil River, have been flooded.

As the water level in the Achankovil has been rising, an alert has been sounded along the banks near regions of Aranmula, Kidangannur and Omalloor. People have been shifted to various relief camps opened in the Pathanamthitta district.

Meanwhile, the state government has appointed ADGP Vijay Sakhare as the nodal officer to coordinate the rescue and relief operations.

Thrissur District Collector Haritha V Kumar has asked the public residing along the banks of the Chalakudi river to remain vigilant as the water level may rise as the Sholayar dam may open soon.

As the death toll in Kerala floods and heavy rainfall reached 35, the Congress-led opposition on Monday accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of not acting on time. However, the government quickly denied the charges.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan, who on Sunday visited the worst-affected areas in Idukki and Kottayam districts, raised questions as to why, despite the IMD warning, the state government failed to act.

“Wish to know why and what happened and it has now proved that the State government failed to act on warnings. We are told it took several hours for the team of government officials to reach certain spots with men and material to do the rescue act. Something has gone wrong and we want answers,” said Satheesan.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is chairing a meeting to discuss the floods and the strategy to be adopted to open dams in the state which are full. The one decision that was taken is that dam shutters will only be opened during the daytime.

On Wednesday, when the Assembly session resumes, the opposition is going to raise the issue in the House. Meanwhile, around 4,000 people are now lodged at various camps that have been opened in Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts of the state.

The latest weather forecast, which has now come out predicts heavy rains to lash the state starting Wednesday. It all started with the century’s biggest floods in 2018 and since then every year, Kerala has seen heavy rains and flash floods.

This time the worst-affected have been the Kottayam and Idukki districts and though the rains have slowed down since Saturday evening and on Monday morning, authorities have issued an alert in eight of the 14 districts of the state.

However, on Monday in the Pathanamthitta district in Central Kerala, things appear not very encouraging.

Meanwhile, social media has also termed the recurring natural disasters as nothing but man-made and numerous trolls have highlighted the statement of noted environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel and in 2013 warned that if Kerala does not stop tampering with the Western Ghats, a huge disaster would be round the corner.

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