The recent landslide atop Chamundi Hill is due to a combination of reasons (refer news item titled ‘Chamundi Hill landslide widens; road shrinks’ in Star of Mysore dated Nov. 2, 2021).
There is a balance in nature and if it is disturbed beyond a limit, the consequences become disastrous. When the Government of Karnataka proceeded to create certain facilities in the interest of tourists and devotees by taking development works like multi-storeyed buildings, it met with opposition by environmental groups who objected saying that it disturbs the ground conditions.
It was also opined that environmental clearance had not been taken. When the Government is hell-bent on pushing its agenda, getting environmental clearance is not a problem. It had a grand idea of expanding the width of the existing road that has served for many decades and stood the onslaught of heavy rains.
With widening of the road, the earthen portion which served to absorb water was reduced. Besides, with heavy rains, the sudden rush of surface water with the absence of well-designed side-drains created conditions that caused collapse.
Moreover, climate change and continuous rains added to the disaster. Possibly, bad construction of the road surface may have caused the water to seep into the road surface creating a piping effect, building pressure of water and triggering internal erosion causing the collapse. These have to be carefully evaluated before taking any restoration works.
Star of Mysore dated Nov. 3, 2021 has reported that about Rs. 100 crore grant is awaited under the Centre and the State Government has resubmitted a proposal to the Centre to secure funds to holistically develop the Chamundi Hill under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) Scheme.
The present collapse should send a warning message as to how best to spend the amount without endangering the safety of the Hill.
Fortunately, Karnataka is in the II and III earthquake zone. However, the eastern part of Mysuru city is identified as a major zone of weakness which may trigger earthquakes.
Hopefully, Goddess Chamundeshwari has been a protective angel and will continue to protect Mysuru and Mysureans, provided we do not tinker with nature and keep the hill free of development.
– H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana, Retired Chief Engineer, Ministry of Surface Transport, Saraswathipuram, 7.11.2021
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