By S Mubarak
Unrelenting rains continue to lash Kodagu, bringing the district to a standstill due to landslides and fallen trees. There has been no vehicular movement as trees have fallen in at least 25 places.
On Wednesday night, many vehicles were waiting for the landslide to be cleared on the Iritty (Kannur) - Makutta (Kodagu) State Highway were washed away due as the Makutta river overflowed. Although authorities were successful in alerting and convincing many people to abandon their vehicles and evacuate from the area by foot, one truck helper lost his life. His body has been retrieved.
Authorities have expressed concern over the flowing of Lakshmana Tirtha River and other rivulets, and have pressed in the services of boats to rescue stranded people. Napoklu, Bhagamandala, Virajpet Kasaba, Hudkeri, Srimangala, Shantalli, Nittoor, Ponnampet are among the areas that have received maximum rainfall. At Bhagamandala, the residents were ferried by authorities on boats.
The residents of at least 180 houses in low-lying areas at Karadigodu in Siddapura (Virajpet) have been notified by the Kodagu district administration to vacate on a priority basis since the water levels of the Cauvery river have been increasing.
On the Kodagu-Kerala border, there has been no power or water supply in the region for over five days due to the torrential rains. The district administration has announced a holiday for all schools and colleges.
As compared to last years’ monsoon, the rainfall in the district has nearly doubled. Between January 2017 and June 2017, 406.66mm of rainfall was recorded. During the same period this year, 847.01mm of rainfall was recorded until Tuesday. The Harangi Reservoir, whose capacity 2859 feet, has already been filled upto 2815.28ft as of June 12. The inflow of the water has increased by 7260 cusecs, as compared to 1352 cusecs last year.
Hectares of farmlands primarily comprising of coffee and other commercial crops have reportedly been affected due to the continuous downpour. Several vehicles were also destroyed due to fallen trees.
The Deputy Commissioner of Kodagu, Sreevidya, has banned vehicular movement under Section 115 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 (Amendment Code 1990) and as per Rule 221 A (5). Vehicular movement from Makutta to Perumbadi will be shut till July 12.
"The travellers alternatively can use Gonikoppa-Ponnampet-Srimangala-Kutta road," the DC's order said.
In the midst of rain for 12 days, authorities have also set up a ganji kendra (food centre) at a government school to provide meals and shelter for the needy. The police, fire personnel and CESCOM linemen are coordinating the distribution of kerosene oil and food parcels in areas to where people are stranded.
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