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.
With its unique wild habitat, Kodagu is home to several endemic species of medicinal plants. Over the years these plants have become the true backbones of a wide range of local health traditions and hundreds of home remedies.
With the introduction of Allopathy in Kodagu, indigenous use of medicinal plants has taken a serious beating over the years. Despite all the affinity for ‘English medicines’, even now for ailments like jaundice and herpes many people in Kodagu prefer herbal medicines because natural products are safe and free from side effects.
Aadhi Kaveri, Igguthappa Travels, Subrahmanya, Gafoor Travels, Gowhar Travels, Panchakshari… rings a bell? Well, these are the names of private buses in Kodagu of the yesteryears. All these are part of nostalgia now.
Over the last few decades, many of the iconic buses have ceased operations while some of them have changed their names and in some cases the routes have been cancelled.
In the 1980s, residents of Kodagu would know the time of day by looking at the names of these buses at a particular location. The iconic Subrahmanya Travels shuttling between Virajpet and Madikeri was a bus etched in the memory of senior citizens. Even now, they have fond stories to tell about the driver, conductor and cleaner of that particular bus which was operational till 1990.
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.
There are not enough adjectives to explain the enchanting beauty of Kodagu, the tiniest district in Karnataka. Thanks to its exquisiteness, Kodagu has been seeing a tourism boom from the last two decades. As a result, too many home stays and resorts have sprung up across the district. The upgradation of Mysuru-Bantwal state highway 9 (now NH 275) a decade back saw mass flow of tourists into Kodagu from Bengaluru. With more than 15 lakhs tourists visiting Kodagu every year, the ecology of this district is under immense pressure.
An important point to be noted here is that many original inhabitants of Kodagu migrated to metros and some moved abroad. Those who purchased land here started to see monetary benefits from all nook and corners after their acquisition. As a result, many unauthorised structures were built to lure the tourists.
Increased footfall of tourists resulted in a surge of income for people who are directly or indirectly depending on tourism. On the other hand, natural resources of the district took a beating. With sustained pressure on resources to fulfil the need of visitors, the quality of these resources deteriorated.
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.