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Landslips galore as rain batters Kodagu

Hundreds stranded at Kottigehara in Chikkamagaluru district following earthslips in Charmadi Ghat

The Kodagu district administration has said there were at least 30 landslips till Thursday evening owing to the continuing rain and fresh incidents were reported on Friday too.

The highway connecting Madikeri with Mangaluru has been blocked at multiple places owing to landslips and uprooted trees, and the local authorities were working on a war footing to clear the road. Giant trees uprooted in the higher altitudes have been swept down by the rivulets, and those trapped below the bridges and blocking the flow of the water were removed using cranes.

Even the Kodagu Deputy Commissioner’s office faced the brunt of the rain as it is close to the Madikeri–Mangaluru highway. Deputy Commissioner Annie Kanmani Joy said restoration and repairs would commence on Saturday. People living in the hilly terrain identified as hazardous will be evacuated and 20 families have already been shifted to a relief centre opened at the Government Higher Primary School in Virajpet.

District in-charge Minister V. Somanna, other elected representatives, and senior officials from the district administration used a boat to reach Bhagamandala to take stock of the situation.

Emergency helpline

Kodagu, which is reeling under torrential rain since the last five days, is bracing for extreme weather conditions for four more days. The India Meteorological Department has issued a red alert valid till Saturday and an orange alert till Tuesday. Red alert is issued in case the forecast is above 204.5 mm of rainfall while an orange alert is for rain that is between 115.6 mm and 204 mm. The district administration has said people of the region in case of any emergency may call 08272-221077 or WhatsApp no. 8550001077.

Bhagamandala, which is the epicentre of this year’s rain fury so far, received 400 mm of rainfall during the 24-hour period ending 8.30 a.m. on Friday. This was preceded by a record rainfall of 486.6 mm during the previous 24 hour.

Outflow from KRS, Kabini up

Parts of Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts in the downstream of the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) and the Kabini reservoirs are expected to face inundation as the outflow from the dams have been increased.

Discharge from the Kabini reservoir, which was at the rate of around 50,600 cusecs on Friday morning, was increased to around 78,000 cusecs by evening. Low-lying areas in H.D. Kote, Nanjangud, and Suttur were flooded and the bridge to Suttur was completely submerged. The Kabini was flowing above the danger mark in Nanjangud where the water level was hardly a few feet below the railway bridge while the Hadinarukalu Mantapa was submerged.

Meanwhile, the crest gates of the KRS were also opened on Friday evening and the outflow was at the rate of 30,000 cusecs which could go up to the rate of 50,000 cusecs. This is expected to increase over the next two days consequent to heavy rain in Kodagu, the catchment area of the Cauvery and also discharge from the Hemavati reservoir in Hassan. The combined discharge from the KRS and Kabini reservoirs on Friday evening was at the rate of 1,08,000 cusecs. Hence parts of T. Narsipur, which is at the confluence of the Cauvery and the Kabini, is expected to witness flooding.

Trouble on highway

In other parts of Malnad region, notably in Chikkamagaluru district and Sakleshpur in Hassan district, vast tracts of agricultural fields and houses were inundated. Scores of houses have been damaged, prompting the local authorities to deploy boats to rescue stranded people.

There were 11 landslips in Charmadi Ghat stretch which left hundreds of people stranded at Kottigehara in Mudigere taluk and at the checkpost. The operation to restore the route continued amid heavy rain. There were major breaches along different stretches of the highway and movement of heavy vehicles could be banned till the repairs are completed.

So far 108 houses have been damaged in Chikkamagaluru district owing to rain. An NDRF team, comprising 30 members, has reached the district to take up rescue operations.

Temple premises flooded

The premises of Sharada Peetha in the temple town of Sringeri is inundated by the Tunga waters following heavy rain. The parking yard, Kappe Shankara temple, the pathway to the Sringeri seer’s place, and the dining hall are all flooded.

Many residential localities in the town too are badly affected. Around 15 people reached the roof as the water level increased at Kurubageri in the town. Two people were stranded on a building at Gandhi Maidan. The police rushed to the spot with a boat and rescued them.

According to the Chikkamagaluru district administration, 12 houses were partially damaged in Sringeri taluk and landslips were reported in some parts. Hundreds of electricity poles and trees have fallen and power lines have been cut.

As the Hemavati is in spate, the Holemalleshwara Temple in Sakleshpur town is almost submerged. As many as 196 houses have been damaged and a portion of the police station at Yeslur has collapsed.

Continued rain in the coastal belt has forced the authorities to increase the outflow from the reservoirs in Uttara Kannada district.

Respite in north Karnataka

There was some respite from rain in the districts of north Karnataka. The water level in the swollen rivers and streams has subsided.

In Belagavi district, rain in Khanapur and surrounding catchment areas augmented the volume of water in the Malaprabha and the Markandeya and also in the Ballari Nala rivulet. The Navilu Teertha dam on the Malaprabha river is nearly full and officers plan to open the crest gates of the reservoir any moment. Irrigation officers have asked farmers in low-lying areas and those on the river banks to go to safer places.

Water at the rate of 1.51 lakh cusecs has been released from Maharashtra into Krishna and its tributaries. In Dharwad district, several streams, including the Benni Halla, are in spate, inundating farmland.

Coordination officers to be posted

Karnataka and Maharashtra have agreed to depute irrigation officers to coordinate with each other on water release from dams. “Our officer will be posted to their reservoirs. One of their officers will be deputed to ours. This will improve our real-time communication,” Irrigation Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said at a meeting of officers here on Friday.

A senior officer will be deputed at Koyna dam in Maharashtra. A Maharashtra officer will be posted at Almatti dam. This will ensure that most of the important decisions taken in the catchment and command areas of the Krishna will be made known immediately, he said. Officers assured him that most reservoirs were yet to be filled and there was no threat of flooding as of now.

(With inputs from Hubballi and Belagavi)

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