Will rain havoc repeat in Kodagu this year?

Will rain havoc repeat in Kodagu this year?

April 25, 2019

• Geologist predicts more rains this year due to volcanic eruptions in Hawaii

• Inordinate delay in completion of house construction for flood victims in Kodagu

• Hillock behind old private bus stand in Madikeri in danger of collapsing again

Bengaluru:  Retired Deputy Director-General of Geological Survey of India (GSI), Dr. H.S.M. Prakash has predicted that the devastating natural calamity that had rocked Kodagu and Kerala last year will haunt these regions again this year. And as if an indication to this, it has already started raining in Kodagu severely affecting those areas that were hit by the calamity last year.

Kodagu received the highest-ever rainfall for August last year, surpassing an 87-year-old record. It was in 1931 that the district received 1,559 mm rain during the entire month. However, in the first three weeks of August 2018, the district received a total rainfall of 1,675mm (till Aug. 21).

Data from India Meteorological Department, Bengaluru, showed 45% (768mm) of the record August rainfall was received within three days — Aug. 15, 16 and 17. If the rain quantity exceeds more than 200mm a day it is termed extremely heavy. In Kodagu’s case last year, there was extreme rainfall for three consecutive days.The district recorded highest-ever daily rainfall when it recorded 300mm in a single day on Aug. 17.

Linked to volcanic eruptions

Prakash said that excessive rainfall in Kodagu and Kerala are linked to volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Mauritius.

“Due to volcanic explosions there, clouds are formed which travel towards India. Water also gets evaporated because of magma liquid which is formed before the volcanic eruptions. There is a possibility of heavy rains being caused by these developments,” he stated.

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He said there are indications of excessive downpour hap-pening in five phases just like last year. He pointed out that two weeks back, Kerala had experienced the first torrential rainfall this year because of the volcanic explosion in Mauritius. Similarly, even Kodagu has been receiving regular rainfall.

Phase-wise rains

Likewise, three to four more similar downpours are likely to be experienced with a gap of 15 to 20 days each between them. The rainfall occurring in August is likely to result in floods.

During the first few rains, water gets trapped in the mud, and the following rains will be so powerful that even mud would not be able to hold it because of moisture it already holds. “This is the stage in which mud, boulders etc., are likely to slide down,” he explained.

Geologist Prakash said that dew has become less now because of which temperature is on the rise. “If there is dew, water content in the earth comes out and the environment becomes cooler. Because of the absence of dew, mud has dried up. These are symptoms of occurrence of future natural calamities,”   he stated.

Incessant summer rains

Star of Mysore’s Madikeri correspondent adds that areas including Jodupala, Monnangeri, Second Monnangeri, Thanti-paala, Madenadu, Meghathalu, Yemmethaalu, Kaloor and Hebbatageri that were devastated by floods last year have been receiving heavy rainfall since over two weeks triggering fear of landslides and flash floods. At Jodupala there are many houses that have been rebuilt by villagers in an undulated and uneven terrain and there is a danger of those houses getting washed away. Residents are worried as it is raining in hot summer this year with trees being uprooted and power and communication lines coming crashing down.

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Due to rains, yesterday, a landslide has been reported at Madenadu on Madikeri-Bengaluru National Highway. The safety poles and sand bunds erected to prevent landslides have been destroyed.

Fear of hillock collapse

Meanwhile, the hillock behind the old private bus stand in Madikeri is in danger of collapsing again this year if it rains heavily. Though mounds of soil from the caved in hillock was cleared five months ago, the promise of constructing a retaining wall and developing it as a tourist spot is yet to be fulfilled. The entire spot is now inviting danger as the monsoon is fast approaching.

On Aug. 15 last year, a part of the hillock caved in damaging the bus shelter and several stalls. The Madikeri CMC had promised to develop the site as a tourist spot or “Madikeri Square” a couple of months ago but nothing has moved in that direction. Forget a tourist spot, not even a retaining wall has been built, say residents.  

It may be recalled here that Kodagu District Minister S.R. Mahesh had promised to release grants to develop the site as a tourist spot. With the monsoon season fast approaching, residents fear further collapse of the hillock.


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