An earthquake-alert system that will instantaneously communicate the gravity of the tremors to disaster management officials is being set up by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in Idukki district, where it has its largest reservoir. The KSEB now has earthquake-monitoring stations at six far-flung places around Idukki and Mullaperiyar dams. The system now for sending alerts is a manual one, requiring computations to determine the intensity of an earthquake, its epicentre and so on. It has been found to be slow in communicating the message when there are tremors.
The thought about digitising the earthquake-alert system for swift communication and anti-disaster initiatives had dawned on the government last year when a string of tremors (though all of them mild) occurred in Idukki district, whipping up fears over the safety of the more-than-a-century-old Mullaperiyar dam.
At a high-level meeting convened by the Chief Minister, one of the suggestions to tighten the anti-disaster response system was to digitise the earthquake-alert mechanism. A full-Board meeting this week sanctioned tender for the works connected with the installation of the system. KSEB member (generation) K.K. Karuppankutty said the project would entail an expense of Rs. 3 crore.
The six earthquake-monitoring stations around the Idukki dams are in Kulamavu, Vallakadadu, near Mullaperiyar, Aladi, Meencut, Pampa and Chottupara.
The new system will transmit digital signals from the tremor sensors installed at these places immediately to a centralised monitoring station at the KSEB headquarters and thence by automatic SMS alerts to a network of numbers designated to respond to calamity threats, Mr. Karuppankutty said.