MANGALURU: It was a terrible Tuesday for over 2,000 people as massive landslides in Charmadi Ghat resulted in a 14-hour-long traffic jam for over 300 vehicles. The ghat connects Mangaluru and Bengaluru.
The blockade occurred at 1.30 am on Tuesday and was cleared around 3 pm. Since the area continues to be unstable and dangerous, with the possibility of more trees and earth falling on to the road, the ghat has been shut for traffic till Thursday. Barricades have been erected at both ends of the ghat — Charmadi and Kottigehara.
Public Works Department engineers have initiated repair works after assessing the damage. Dakshina Kannada SP Ravikanthegowda said there were two big landslides. One landslide was at the second curve of the ghat that comes under Dakshina Kannada district and the second one at the eleventh curve in Chikkamagaluru district.
The two landslides occurred at 1.30 am, barely hours after the authorities had cleared multiple slides (comparatively smaller) along the same stretch also stranding scores of vehicles for more than five hours on Monday. Luckily, no one was hurt as traffic was less when the second landslide occurred.
The region has been witnessing incessant and heavy rain for the last one week leading to streams and rivers flowing at the danger mark.
Charmadi Ghat: Rivers at danger mark, debris removal work on
The region has been witnessing incessant and heavy rain for the last one week leading to streams and rivers flowing at the danger mark. This, coupled with heavy winds, is said to be the reason for such landslides — never seen in the last few decades.
The mountain of debris at both the places stood at more than 30 ft tall. By the time the vehicles that first hit the ‘dead end’ could think of taking a U-turn, there was a pile of vehicles on the right side making the way out impossible. The situation only turned from bad to worse as vehicles could not be stopped at both ends.
The operation to clear tonnes of mud and trees from the highway started at 8 am on Tuesday. While Dakshina Kannada SP Ravikanthegowda led the operation from the DK side, his counterpart K Annamalai did it from the Chikkamagaluru side. It took hours for the authorities to transport earthmovers to the affected spots because of road blocks. In all, eight excavators were pressed into action to clear the mountain of debris. A strong force of more than 100 police and firemen took part in the operation. Ravikanthegowda said though there were able to clear the traffic by 3 pm, removal of debris from the road was still on.
Vehicles moving towards Charmadi have been diverted through alternative routes. The routes are Naravi-Bajagoli-Kalasa-Mudigere-Belur or BC Road-Sullia-Sampaje-Madikeri. From Chikkamagaluru side:Kottigehara-Samsa, Kalasa, Bajagoli and Karkala.