MURNAD: Built across River Kaveri in Bethri, the Bethri bridge is one of the important bridges in Kodagu. Part of Virajpet-Baindur state highway, the bridge connects the towns of Madikeri and Virajpet. Even though there are other routes to connect the two towns, the road via Bethri bridge provides the shortest travel distance between Madikeri and Virajpet. One of the oldest bridges constructed after independence, it is built in arch shape. According to some estimate, more than 1000 vehicles move along the bridge daily.
Colonel O S Bedi, IPS, then the chief commissioner of Coorg had laid the foundation stone for Bethri bridge on March 29, 1953. It was inaugurated by then Union Minister for Transport and Railways Lal Bahaddur Shastri on May 29, 1955. Coorg was a ‘C’ state at that time.
MADIKERI: A month after Kodagu was devastated by unprecedented floods and landslides, questions are being asked about what could have led to the worst natural disaster to strike the tiny district in Karnataka in decades.
While rampant deforestation in the name of tourism has been blamed primarily for the tragedy, experts state there are other reasons that could have contributed to the calamity.
In this article, we look at some of the possible causes that led to the widespread disaster.
“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” These are the words of Mahatma Gandhi. This saying should enlighten us, but unfortunately that is not the case.
When humans originated on this planet, their demands were confined to food, shelter and clothes. As the time passed, demands of humans increased manifold. Today, in this modern era, or to put it more meaningfully, in this consumerist world, his demands have skyrocketed.
In the 18th century, industrialisation was triggered in England and soon it spread across other European countries. In the early 19th century, industrialisation spread to Asia, South America and Australia. If we confine our discussion only to the Indian context, industrialisation gained pace after independence. Industries need basic infrastructure like uninterrupted power supply, all-season roads, good communication facilities, railway connectivity, airports, seaports, and inland water ways among many others.
MADIKERI: Kodagu, which witnessed heavy rains and floods in the third week of August this year, is now showing signs of water scarcity with the water level in River Kaveri dipping drastically across its path at Napoklu, Murnad and Siddapur.
After the all-consuming deluge which inundated many areas, rivers, streams and wells in Kodagu are seemingly drying up fast, exposing dry sand beds at many places. At Bethri near Murnad, the River Kaveri is now flowing with just a couple of feet high water.
Though in August, as the floods raged, River Kaveri overshot its banks at most places in Kodagu, sinking several parts of the district, it has been noticed that water levels at wells and streams at many places have drastically dipped in the last few weeks.
MADIKERI: The Kodagu district administration has lifted the ban on entry of tourists to the flood-affected Kodagu from September 10. Rescue-cum-relief operations are going on in full swing in the district, which is reeling under rain havoc caused in the third week of August.
However, tourists are not allowed to visit Abbey Falls, Mandalpatti and Tadiyandamol as the road repair work is under progress.
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner P I Sreevidya had prohibited tourists from staying in hotels, resorts, home stays, guest houses and other private lodges and boarding homes till September 9.
“The re-construction and re-building of the affected areas and damaged roads are in progress and since rains have reduced considerably from the last five days, it has been decided not to further extend the ban,” the order stated.
A copy of the circular has been forwarded to Kodagu District Hotel and Resort Owners Association and Kodagu District Home Stays Association.
There are conflicting views emanating whether Madikeri Dasara next month should be a low-key affair or should be conducted with the usual pomp and grandeur. Kannada and Culture Minister Jayamala who visited Madikeri last week has added to the confusion by claiming Madikeri Dasara will be a grand affair this year too.
The truth is Kodagu is yet to recover from the floods and landslides which hit the district in the third week of August. Even though only a few places were affected, we as a society should stand behind the flood-affected displaced families in their time of need. Rehabilitation is going to be long drawn process which will need donations from individuals and corporates in addition to the government grants.
Kelapanda Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar, the two 22-year-olds from Chennai, endured a roller-coaster ride to finish with bronze in the men’s 49er sailing event at the recently concluded Asian Games.
In an email interview with Kodagu Connect, Kelapanda Ganapathy, with Kodagu roots, speaks about his entry into sailing and future plans.
How did you first get involved with sailing?
I first started sailing when I was around six years old. One of my classmates’ dad took some of our classmates on a sailing trip and I just loved the experience. There has been no looking back for the last 16 years. It has been a long journey but it’s just the beginning.
How did it feel winning bronze medal for India at Asian Games?
It was one of the proudest moments of my life. Only regret was being not able to win the gold because we couldn’t execute some of our plans as we had planned before the race.
How did you train and prepare for Asian Games?
A year back I had a shoulder surgery, so I had only six months to prepare for the Asian Games. We spent a lot of time training in Europe. I would especially like to mention our coaches Bunny Warren, Jyrki Jarvi, Alain and Champy who were of great support, and special thanks to Jonas Warrer who was with us at the Asian Games. We couldn’t have achieved anything without these amazing people.