Salem, July 18:
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will open the Mettur dam for irrigation in the delta districts on July 19 along with a few of his cabinet colleagues. The level in the dam reached 100 feet on Tuesday. Already, the Chief Minister had directed the agriculture department to be in a state of preparedness to help farmers with seeds of long-term paddy varieties and make other arrangements in the coming days. The dam could not be opened on June 12, the scheduled date, because of insufficient storage.
With heavy discharge of water from two reservoirs in Karnataka, the water level in Mettur dam near Salem inching towards the full reservoir level of 120 ft.The inflow crossed 1.20 lakh cusecs. The water level has increased to nearly 12ft in 24 hours. The dam level crossing 100 feet after four years.
Salem collector Rohini R Bhajibhakare had appealed to the people, especially those who living on the banks of the Cauvery and low-lying areas, to move to safer places. Coracle services at Hogenakkal and its surrounding river banks were also banned until further orders.
A team of officials from revenue, PWD, police and forest departments were being deployed to monitor the situation, she said.
Heavy water inflow flooded the pathway to the main falls and hanging bridge. Police and fire and rescue services personnel were posted throughout the river banks area.
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami ordered the PWD officials to open the sluice gates in Mettur dam for irrigation needs on Wednesday.
The administration has also asked tourists to avoid taking selfies and also photographs on the banks of the river, which would be in spate anytime.
The Tamil Nadu government has already announced that water would be released from the dam for irrigation in Delta districts on July 19.