Shrunk Cheruthoni river, encroachments make water take different courses

Shrunk Cheruthoni river, encroachments make water take different courses

The opening of all the five shutters of Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki arch dam, is witnessing a massive flow of 600 cubic metres 6 lakh litres) of water per second.

The gush appears more than what Cheruthoni river, that is nothing more than a stream, which is to carry the dam water finally to the Periyar, can hold.

Massive encroachments on either sides of the river has resulted in its shrinking.

While the test run opening one shutter began at 12.30 pm yesterday, it continued and the flow increased when two more shutters were opened at 7 am, following which the fourth was opened around noon and the fifth at 1.30 pm.

This was because there was urgent need to release water since the dam level remained above the 2,401 ft due to continuing torrential rain for the last 48 hours. The full level is 2,403 ft.

The Cheruthoni bus stand was partially submerged. The surge was so intense by afternoon that water was flowing over the bridge at Cheruthoni. Earlier, as part of cleaning operations when an orange alert was issued, authorities had cleared the debris from under the bridge and also cleared a opening which was nearly closed and its sides encroached.

The water took with it trees and crops like banana that were planted in alongside the river, resulting in its becoming thinner.

The bus stand which has been partially built on what was to be part of the river appears all set to be submerged and a side of it might get washed away.

Just near it, a house built on the water course was washed away when the shutters were opened in the afternoon.

Further downstream, water was deciding it's course as its natural flow had been hampered by encroachments. This led to widespread destruction of crops.

Fortunately, people along the river side were evacuated and shifted to safe places, resulting in there being no loss of life.