Landslide wrecks a hot spot for travellers

Jodupala (Madikeri): Once, this stretch between Madikeri and Mangaluru was a joyful experience for visitors who would stop here to experience the sight of the fog, sip hot coffee and pose for photos near the plantations or the beautiful Kolli Abbi falls.

But a massive landslide on the 13 km stretch between Madikeri and Jodupala on National Highway 275 on Friday now brings only horrific memories  to about 300 people from Jodupala and nearby areas who were shifted to three camps- Sampaje, Kallagudda and Tekkila. The catastrophe has washed away houses, resorts, culverts and even the several feet thick National Highway on this stretch! It has completely cut off all villages situated to the north of Madikeri (towards Dakshina Kannada district) from the district headquarters.

The Jodupala junction is  filled with slush with the landslide creating a new river which is now flowing in the place which was once a Highway. The water current is so strong that rescue team had to construct a temporary bridge to cross it! The houses here are filled with knee deep slush and water. Huge boulders can be seen on the road and logs and trees on the rooftops of the houses here.

In about six places, National Highway 275 has been severely damaged between Madikeri and Jodupala. Complete repair of this road would need nothing less than a year as in many places the authorities have to construct the road afresh and also build a strong retaining wall. One can see open shops with eatables still hanging outside, near the Kolli Abbi falls, a vehicle in the service station and half repaired stands as proof of the sudden landslide.  Police and NDRF team accompanied by local volunteers are searching to see if there is anybody stuck in the houses, homestays, resorts or any other building.  On Sunday, the rescue team found a labourer in a resort near Jodupala who was carried out in a stretcher. "We have covered almost all places and shifted people to safer destinations. Our priority is to move people to safer places," a NDRF officer told Deccan Chronicle.

“There is no flood here. The problem is because of the landslide. We dont know how many are stuck and in which place. We are searching every place with the help of local people," he added. Over 300 people have been shifted to the three camps in Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada district.

An elderly woman and a paralytic patient were shifted to a private hospital at Sullia. Others who wanted treatment too have been sent to the hospital. Meanwhile, all power lines have collapsed in the Ghat section. This has left rescue personnel worried as they feel people stuck in  remote areas will not be able to contact them. Due to the failure in power supply, people are not  able to even charge their mobiles.

The education of their children is also worrying people here. "It will take months to rebuild the village and children's education will suffer because of this. Officials should take some step to ensure that these children get education in other schools," an activist helping the villagers said.

Meanwhile, Union Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, and Ministers R.V. Deshpande and U.T. Khader visited Sullia, Madikeri and other rain affected areas. Mr Deshpande assured all necessary help to the victims and said a committee would be formed to study the reasons for the disaster.

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Note from Kannada.Club :

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