Mysuru: “Although I have seen heavy rainfall like this once before in the 1960s, I have never seen this sort of devastation in Kodagu, ” says 75- year- old prof P K Somaiah (retired), a coffee planter from Moornad in Madikeri taluk.
He is not wrong in his assessment as going by the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) it is only for the second time in recent memory that Kodagu has received the kind of rain it received between August 1 and 19 this year. The last time was in 1964 when the rain was still heavier, according to KSNDMC director Dr G S Srinivasreddy.
“ Kodagu received 119 per cent more rain than usual between August 1 and 19 in 1964 and it has received 110 per cent more rain than usual during the same period this year,” he reveals, however , adding that it did not see this sort of devastation at the time as it did not have as big a population or as many settlements.
In fact, since the start of the South West Monsoon on June 1 this year, Kodagu has recorded 47 per cent rain in excess, according to him. “It had good pre- monsoon showers too in May. With no let-up in rain, the magnetic clay soil in Kodagu was completely saturated and could not retain the water, leading to landslides and floods. At least 30 to 40 percent of Kodagu appears to have been affected,” Dr Srinivas Reddy adds, assuring that the worst appears to be over as the district usually receives 80 per cent of the South West Monsoon in August.
“The good news is while the intensity of rainfall has already reduced over past three days, Kodagu will only receive only light to moderate rainfall till the end of September ,” he says. Prof Somaiah reveals that much of his plantation and around 10 per cent of the plantations belonging to old timers like him have not been affected because they chose the location of their houses more carefully.
“Roots of trees give strength to the soil. This disaster is man- made. Besides deforestation, encroachments and carving of hilly terrains for construction of houses, has led to flooding and landslides,” he rues.
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