Mithun Mohan has a faint memory of the time when the Periyar was in spate, and water literally kissed the doorsteps of his ancestral home at Eloor before receding without further breach.

It was back in 1992 when the sluice gates of Cheruthoni dam were opened last. With the authorities setting in motion the protocol for opening the dam shutters yet again, Mithun wonders whether his family would be lucky a second time.

His ancestral home has gone, and in its place stands a modern one. But, more ominously, so as the paddy field behind his home where now stand a few houses. “The plot that separates our home, which is around 50 metres from the Periyar, was inundated during this rain. So, this time if water surges beyond control, we will have problems,” said Mithun.

That is an anxiety shared by quite a few people living along the banks of the Periyar many of whom fear an evacuation if and when the shutters are finally opened.

K.A. Siyad, living at Thuruth, a virtual island in the Periyar in Aluva, has a more recent memory of being evacuated after being left marooned during the monsoon in 2013. “Though water did not enter our house, we had to be moved out in a rescue vessel after we were literally cut off from the land and deprived of essential services like drinking water,” he recollected.

Sajith N., living alongside the Periyar at North Kalamassery, recollects memories from the monsoon of 1988 when the river surged to the bottom layer of his three-layered plot, while the house was on the top most layer. Now, the house sits on the second layer, while an embankment had been built along the bottom layer breached by water. “While the Periyar is turbid and has considerable water flow, it does not seem to be all that furious to panic about the situation,” he said.

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