BENGALURU: The landslide at Nandi Hills on Tuesday night has raised concern among environmentalists, geologists, conservationists and even government officials, who are planning to take a relook at the planning and works carried out so far in Chikkaballapur district.
While officials and experts say it is a one of a kind incident and a natural phenomenon, they do no rule out that ongoing blasting at other hillocks and human intervention in the region could have played a role too.
According to the Chikkaballapur district administration, the landslide happened in the Brahmagiri Hills area, Rangappa Circle, or the 10th Cross near the police checkpost.
“The hill is a large monolith and over the years, a lot of mud and small stones had accumulated on it. Chikkaballapur normally receives 700-750mm rainfall annually, but on Tuesday night, the area received 10cm rainfall. With this, a portion of the mud and stones got washed down, exposing the monolith. It is a natural phenomenon,” explained Chikkaballapur DC R Latha.
Geologists and forest department officials point out that the mud sheet gave way because of poor water percolation capacity and the soil could not hold any more. Over the years, the mud was gradually coming down and filled up the nala, blocking the flow of water. The same could have happened to the culverts created to ensure there is smooth flow of water.
They also suspect that earlier, many rivers originated in the hillocks, with Nandi Hills being the origin of five rivers, which have dried up. Many borewells have been dug by locals in the vicinity, leading to a drastic dip in ground water level, making the soil dry and loose, leading to a landslide. They also suspect that the ongoing blasting in nearby areas near Skandagiri Hills could have impacted Brahmagiri Hills.
Anand Singh to visit Nandi Hills
Tourism, Environment and Ecology Minister Anand Singh said he would be visiting Nandi Hills where heavy rain led to a landslide on Tuesday night. “There is a plan to develop Nandi Hills with private partnership, and the department will start the tender process to develop Nandi Hills,” said Singh, who held his first meeting with tourism officials after taking over. He said he had placed a request for Rs 650 crore to take up projects, but the government had released only Rs 228 crore.