The Dakshina Kannada district administration announced that vehicle movement on Charmadi Ghat Road, a link road connecting coastal Karnataka to the rest of the state, will be prohibited for one month till September 14. This is being done in light of the restoration work due to the landslides that occurred because of the heavy rainfall.
Five major landslides have occurred in the ghat section of Chikkamagaluru apart from 50 minor landslips. "We have asked for a month to complete restoration work throughout the ghat section. There have been five landslides which are critical and we have begun cleaning and restoration already,” Archana Kumar, Executive Engineer, National Highways, told TNM.
Charmadi Ghat, which is in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada and Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru, was closed on August 10 following landslides in Charmadi and Didupe on the Dakshina Kannada side, and in Banakal Sunkasale and Neranki on the Chikkamagaluru side.
The ghat section is part of National Highway 73, connecting Mangaluru to Villupuram in Tamil Nadu.
Vehicles will now be re-routed via Ujire-Dharmasthala-Kokkada-
While parts of Karnataka have been reeling from the heavy rainfall received in the past few days, environmentalist Dinesh Holla told TNM that the landslides are also a result of man-made causes. "Landslides are increasing due to human intervention in the Western Ghats. On the other side of the mountain, in places like Baluru and Kelagooru, a number of houses, resorts and home-stays have been constructed. This, in turn, affects lower-lying areas and contributes to landslides.”
Landslides were also reported in Anemahal near Yettinahole, close to the area where construction work on the Yettinahole river diversion project proposed in 2013-14 was taken up. "In the summer, water sources near Yettinahole dried up, and now, there is excess water. It is a cycle of floods and droughts. We cannot say it is a natural phenomenon when the role of construction work is evident," Dinesh added.
While Charmadi survived the deluge of the rains last year, landslides have struck many areas of the road this time around. Even Shiradi Ghat, which is 50 km away from Charmadi, was blocked due to landslides on Friday, effectively cutting off major routes linking Bengaluru to coastal Karnataka. However, Shiradi Ghat is now open, and another route via Madikeri is also open after waterlogged areas in Kushalnagar were cleared up.