The theatre of the monsoon shifted from the coast to the hills of the Western Ghats as heavy rains saw the closure of major roads in the region on Tuesday.
Traffic on Charmadi Ghat highway has been closed till Thursday after at least 10 tree falls were reported on the major road connecting Bengaluru to Mangaluru. While authorities struggled to remove trees to facilitate vehicular movement on the busy highway — a critical link between the coast and the hinterlands following the closure of National Highway 75 at Shiradi Ghat — landslips occurred in at least two places.
More than 200 vehicles and over 2,000 people remained stranded, said Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda. Over 100 KSRTC services were affected.
The police as well as the general public offered drinking water and snacks to stranded passengers. The road was water logged for several kilometres, and it was only by 3 p.m. that it was partially cleared to allow vehicular flow.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said he had directed authorities to provide transport facilities and food to those who were stranded on either side. “I also thank the local citizens who are helping the stranded people, and the authorities in its rescue work,” he said on the microblogging site, Twitter. Public Works Minister H.D. Revanna told reporters in Hassan that the road would completely be restored in a week.
Rail connectivity to the coastal city of Mangaluru was affected too after landslips blocked the line near Yedekumeri in Sakleshpur taluk. More than 150 workers camped all night to restore the track. The track, which had been blocked at 17 locations, was restored only at 12.10 p.m. on Tuesday.
The district received heavy rains and bridges were submerged in many places. The Hemavati breached its banks and inundated the Hole Malleshwara Temple, and several houses at Azad Nagar in Sakleshpur town. A retaining wall constructed near the drain at Kushala Nagar Extension in Sakleshpur town collapsed.
In Chikkamagaluru district, many roads in Mudigere and Koppa taluks were inundated. “It was like a cloudburst. We had never seen such heavy rains in our lifetime,” said B.S. Jairam, a coffee planter in Mudigere taluk. The district administration declared a holiday for schools and colleges in Mudigere, Sringeri, Koppa, and N.R. Pura taluks, while, in Hassan, educational institutes were closed for the day in Arkalgud taluk.
Meanwhile, National Highway 13 connecting Shivamogga with Tirthahalli was blocked for some time due to a landslip near Bharathipura. Gusts of wind brought down over 120 arecanut trees in two villages of the district, while two houses were damaged due to landslip in Tirthahalli town.