Govt machinery on alert as Kerala braces for heavy rains

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has put its state machinery on alert Friday in view of the possibility of heavy to heavy rain in the state for the next four days under the influence of a low pressure area over the southeast Arabian sea.

According to an India Meteorological Department bulletin, the low pressure is very likely to become more marked during the next 12 hours and concentrate into a depression. It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and move towards Oman Coast thereafter.

The IMD has also issued a red alert for Idukki and Malappuram districts on 7 October. Some parts of the state, including Kochi, Thrissur and Malappuram, received rains Friday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said five teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have arrived in the state, and they would be deployed in Wayanad, Palakkad, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kozhikode.

The shutters of the Neyyar and Aruvikara dams here and Malampuzha dam in Palakkad were lifted Friday to release water in view of the forecast of heavy rains in the coming days. Officials also said shutters of the Idukki-Cheruthoni dam, Pamba, Moozhiar and Kakki dams in Pathanamthitta, Banasurasagar dam in Wayanad, Sholayar, Peechi and Chimini dams in Thrissur district would be opened, if necessary, after monitoring the water inflow.

The government has also issued a warning to people living on the banks of rivers including the Pamba and Periyar. Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea for the next few days. Tourists have been advised not to travel to hill stations, especially Munnar in Idukki and Nelliyampathy in Palakkad districts, respectively.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said government took the right decision in opening shutters of some dams in view of the low pressure hovering over the southeast Arabian sea. Chennithala said if the government had taken such a step in August when the state witnessed a deluge, destruction and loss of life could have been avoided.

The state had witnessed the fury of the southwest monsoon in August, the worst in the last 100 years, which claimed 493 lives and left a trail of destruction in several districts.