Unseasonal rain batters Tirunelveli district

51,000 cusecs of water was released from two dams late at night

TIRUNELVELI

The unseasonal and unexpected rain that unprecedentedly lashes the district during this season has badly affected normal life in the district.

To make things worse, heavy discharge of water from the overflowing dams triggered heavy flood in the Tamirabharani that entered the low-lying areas.

After 29,000 cusecs of water was released from the Papanasam and Manimuthar dams on Tuesday afternoon, the heavy rain that lashed the catchment areas of the reservoirs compelled the officials to release 51,000 cusecs of water from these two dams late in the night.

As the Manjolai tea estate above the Manimuthar dam also experienced heavy rainfall, Manimuthar Falls swelled with menacing flood that submerged the bridge near the waterfalls.

The heavily discharged water reached the Tirunelveli city limits in the early hours to enter the low-lying areas like Meenakshipuram, Kailaasapuram, C.N. Village and five streets in the northern side of Vannarpet. Fire and Rescue Services personnel, with the help of inflatable boats, relocated the people and the cattle from the five streets of Vannarpet.

Collector V. Vishnu and Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan were on the move throughout the night to monitor the flood situation, particularly along the Tamirabharani watercourse following the heavy discharge of water from the dams. They also visited 16 of the 187 relief camps as 227 persons relocated from the low-lying areas had been kept in these places.

During an informal chat with reporters after taking a look at the flood from the Sulochana Mudaliyar Bridge across the Tamirabharani near the Collectorate, Collector V. Vishnu on Wednesday morning said 32,858 cusecs of water was being discharged from three dams – Papanasam – 15,700 cusecs, Manimuthar – 15,446 cusecs and Gadana – 1,712 cusecs after rain subsided in the catchment areas.

“Crop damage is being jointly assessed by the revenue and agriculture department officials. Since pumping of drinking water from the infiltration wells in the Tamirabharani remains affected following the flood, the affected people are being supplied drinking water in the tankers,” Mr. Vishnu said.

Though Tamirabharani started roaring with menacing flood, it became a ‘picnic spot’ for the residents living nearby despite repeated warnings by the police. Almost all the accessible points near the river were flooded with huge number of people right from the morning, who were seen taking selfies even while standing atop the bridge at Kallidaikurichi.

Since the flood submerged the low-level bridge near Seevalaperi on the Palayamkottai – Aruppukottai Highway, traffic on this stretch was paralysed completely. Those who had to cross this point to give the traditional ‘Pongal Gift’ comprising ‘Pongal’ ingredients, vegetables, sugarcane, vessels etc. to their married daughters and the sisters living in the places beyond Seevalaperi had to take alternative routes to reach respective places.

While the places close to the Western Ghats experienced heavy rainfall, other places had continuous drizzle right throughout the day. After relenting for a while, rain returned to lash the catchment areas in the afternoon. Consequently, discharge of water from the Papanasam and Manimuthar Dams was increased to 50,000 cusecs since 4 p.m.

Besides the 50 NDRF personnel, 15 Indian Navy personnel drawn from INS Kattabomman, the low-frequency communication centre here, following an appeal from Mr. Vishnu, were deployed at Vickramasingapuram to tackle any expected flood-related adverse development.

Rainfall in the district (in mm): Papanasam Dam – 185, Manimuthar Dam – 165, Kalakkad – 106, Ambasamudram – 97, Cheranmahadevi – 65, Nambiyar Dam – 45, Nanguneri – 32, Kodumudiyar Dam – 30, Radhapuram – 28, Palayamkottai – 26, Moolaikkaraipatti – 25, and Tirunelveli – 23.

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