MADIKERI: It is almost two months since the flood disaster struck Kodagu. While the rehabilitation process for flood-affected people is on, there is a growing concern among travel and tourism industry stakeholders about a huge drop in tourists visiting Kodagu after the tragedy in August.
Most residents who do not depend on tourism are vociferously stating this is the right time to reduce tourism pressure on the district and take corrective measures to avoid further tragedies in the future. The tourism industry folks are leaving no stone unturned in their campaigning efforts to convince the world that all is well in Kodagu and it is a safe place to visit.
Kodagu Connect collected opinion of a cross-section of people from Kodagu and this is what they had to say.
MADIKERI: According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), heavy rains have been forecast for the coastal and south interior districts of Karnataka including Kodagu over the weekend due to a low-pressure trough that is expected to form over Arabian Sea.
A low pressure is likely to concentrate into a depression and move north-westwards to form into a cyclone, the bulletin from IMD said.
Four districts of Karnataka – Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Kodagu and Mysuru – received excess rainfall this year. Kodagu received the highest-ever daily rainfall when it recorded 300mm in a single day on August 17, 2018.
Neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also likely to receive heavy rain due to the low-pressure effect.
MADIKERI: In a major reshuffle among the top brass of the Indian army, Lieutenant General Pattacheruvanda C Thimayya will take over as the 21st General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) at Shimla from November 1, 2018. The incumbent Lieutenant General M M Naravane has been appointed the Eastern Army Commander at Kolkata.
A Mechanised Infantry Officer, commissioned in 1981, Thimayya has varied experiences at the Western and Eastern fronts. Besides commanding a Mechanised Infantry Brigade, he has commanded a strike RAPID division and has held important staff appointments at Integrated HQ of MoD (Army). Thimayya has also been a military observer with UN mission (Angola) and Defence Attache in Bangladesh. In 2016, he took over the command of Chetak Corps from Lieutenant General Ashwani Kumar.
Hailing from Kodagu, Thimayya is the son of Pattacheruvanda Chengappa and Gowru. He studied at Sainik School in Bhubaneshwar and later at National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, Pune and Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.
He is married to Neena Thimayya and has two sons — Arjun who is serving the Indian Navy and Akshay, who is pursuing his Mass Communication studies.
MADIKERI: Kerala’s fourth international airport, at Kannur, is expected to boost tourism in Kodagu. The airport located in Mattannur, just 58 km from Virajpet and about 90 km from Madikeri, will soon open for commercial operations. With the National Highway Authority of India planning to convert the road into a national highway, the travelling time will be reduced further.
In an interview with Kodagu Connect, V Thulasidas, Managing Director, Kannur International Airport, says increase in inbound tourists and export opportunities will improve the socio-economic conditions of Kodagu district.
MADIKERI: This year ‘Theerthodbhava’ will occur at 6.43pm on October 17 in Talakaveri , according to an official communique.
The Kodagu district administration is putting in place necessary facilities like drinking water, temporary toilet blocks, parking and lighting in Talakaveri and Bhagamandala. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will be providing more buses from all parts of the district to the venue.
Apart from devotees from Kodagu, people from Mandya, Mysuru and Bengaluru, and also from neighbouring Kerala and Tamil Nadu are expected to witness the religious ceremonies.
As per the schedule, following rituals will take place till ‘Theerthodbhava’ – placing of rice in Paththaya on September 27, Aajna muhurtha on October 5, and placing of Akshaya pathra and offering boxes on October 15.
MADIKERI: Other than causing huge loss in terms of infrastructure, property and crops, the recent floods and landslides in Kodagu have led to indirect losses that are long-term and complex. For example, these landslides have brought significant sediment load in the drainage channels and connected water reservoirs
One such impacted reservoir is the Harangi dam, which is located close to the northern affected areas near Kushalnagar. Using pre-landslides and post-landslide open source satellite images and advanced GIS image processing, WRI India generated map showing Total Suspended Solid (TSS) concentration within the Harangi reservoir has increased by almost 100 times due to flow of increased load of soil and sediment within the reservoir. It is believed such high load of soil and sediment inflow causes sedimentation within the reservoir and thereby significantly reduces the water holding capacity of the dam.
Silting is a natural hydrological and sedimentological process in which sediments flowing from the upstream catchment area get deposited in the reservoir.
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.