Kerala: Heavy rain continues as schools shut, trains cancelled

Areas near reservoirs on alert as most dams have been filled to the brim

Train services were stopped after water level in river Meenachil rose above the dangerous mark | Onmanorama Train services were stopped after water level in river Meenachil rose above the dangerous mark | Onmanorama

Incessant rain continues in Kerala with normal life on a standstill in the coastal state. Educational institutions in at least four districts were shut and a few trains were cancelled on Wednesday. 

The Ernakulam collector has declared holiday for schools and anganwadis in the district. The neighbouring districts of Idukki and Kottayam have declared holidays for all educational institutions, while in Alappuzha only professional colleges will be functioning on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, 10 trains have been fully cancelled for Wednesday in Kottayam-Ettumanur section and two trains have been partially cancelled between Ernakulam and Punalur due to incessant rain and high river water level beneath rail bridges, informed the Railways. The decision was taken after the water level in River Meenachil rose above the dangerous mark level on Wednesday. 

The cancelled trains include: Kottayam-Ernakulam passenger, Ernakulam-Kottayam passenger, Ernakulam-Kayamkulam passenger, Kayamkulam-Ernakulam passenger, Kollam-Ernakulam memu, Ernakulam-Kollam memu, Guruvayur-Punalur passenger, Punalur-Guruvayur passenger, Tirunelveli-Palakkad passenger, Palakkad-Tirunelveli passenger and Palaruvi Express. Other trains will run at a regulated speed, railway authorities said.

Heavy rain over the past three days wreaked havoc in Kerala, claiming lives and destroying property. The rain in southern districts was triggered by a depression off the Odisha coast. 

The unabated rain has ensured that most of the dams in Kerala are filled to the brim. Officers of the Dam Safety Organisation said they were keeping a close watch on the reservoirs, including the Idukki arch dam, reported Onmanorama. 

Heavy rain in the catchment areas has forced the dam operators to open the shutters though it meant flooding downstream areas. Three gates of the Lower Periyar reservoir, three gates of the Kallarkutty reservoir, three gates of the Peringalkuthu reservoir and one gate each of the Ponmudi and Moozhiyar dams were opened on Tuesday. The Ponmudi dam was closed on Tuesday morning, but rising water levels left the officials with no choice but to open the shutter again.

About 34,000 people have been shifted to relief camps after flood water inundated low-lying areas due to heavy rains that have lashed Kerala for the past one week. A total of 34,693 people from 8,033 families were shifted to 265 relief camps across the state, the control room monitoring rain-related incidents said.

At least 12 people have died and six reported missing in rain-related incidents after the monsoon became active on July 9.

In the second spell of rains, around 36 houses were destroyed while 1,214 suffered partial damage, officials said.

(With inputs from agencies)