Landslide
The decision is among several steps taken by the district administration in the aftermath of the floods and landslides in Kodagu last year.

The Kodagu district administration is putting certain measures in place to prepare for the imminent monsoon season and prevent any disasters like the 2018 landslides. Among them is Kodagu Deputy Commissioner’s latest notification, stating that leave for all district-government officials between June 1 and August 31 have been cancelled.

In her direction, Kodagu DC Annies Kanmani Joy has stated that the local government officers must prepare and equip their respective department with all relief and precautionary measures during the monsoon.

"The monsoon can step-in at any time, subsequently the officials cannot avail leave from June 1 to August 31. The officials can move out of the district, only after obtaining prior permission" she said.

Speaking at the meet at Town Hall at Madikeri on Tuesday, the DC added that Nodal officers and District Level Committees must swiftly coordinate to respond to emergency situations immediately.

Besides the district police, officials from the Health and Family Welfare Department, Food and Civil Supplies, Education, Agriculture, Urban Development, Wildlife, Tourism, Land Revenue and Fire Department were present at the meeting. “In case of emergency, attention must be given to provide swift relief and rescue service to children and women,” DC Kanmani said.

The DC also directed nodal officers to visit 32 village panchayats that are deemed vulnerable to environmental hazards, assess the situation and submit the report within a week.

In 2018, the instantaneous rain in the district had caused heavy floods and landslides in the district, which is known for its coffee and tourist attraction. The natural calamity had claimed the lives of over 20 people, besides creating massive damage to crops, plantation and properties.

Besides the preparedness for setting up relief camps and makeshift medical centres, the DC told the panchayat officials to establish a liaison with transporters and earthmovers for shifting residents or clearing debris in case of emergency.

The District Administration has already constituted a Task Force Committee, comprising Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) and Public Works Department, to coordinate with rescue and relief on high priority.

Authorities are taking measures to ensure that there is no repeat of the disaster that occurred last year.

Kodagu was ravaged by floods and landslides last year after it received over 200 mm of rainfall on three consecutive days in August 2018. The rainfall was the heaviest recorded in the district in 118 years and it displaced more than 7,000 people, who eventually sought refuge at 55 relief camps set up at the time.

In the last five months, the district administration has also rejected 693 applications to convert agricultural land for commercial use.

Read: Kodagu clamps down on commercialisation, 693 applications to convert land rejected

Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)