BENGALURU: Braving the vagaries of nature, 229 railway personnel and contract labourers have launched an uphill battle to restore railway tracks in the Subrahmanya Road-Sakleshpur Ghat stretch. In the midst of incessant rain and frequent landslides, these workers have been risking their lives and working in shifts round-the-clock since August 14.
There is no question of meeting their families for now as the nights of those given a rest period are spent either at Subrahmanya Road or Sakleshpur railway stations. There is no end in sight to their hardships either as recurring landslides keep hurtling down more earth even as they keep clearing the debris. The last three days have seen 46 instances of landslips or boulders falling between Donigal and Subrahmanya Road. Though rail traffic has been officially suspended till August 25, incidences of two fresh landslides on Friday between Kadgaravalli and Yedakumari stations are set to push this date further.
Two men are put on duty to watch out for impending landslides and alert those working so that they can rush to safer spots instantly. Spearheading operations is Senior Divisional Engineer, Coordination, Mysuru Railway Division, Anand Bharti. He told TNIE that 10 excavation machines, numerous motor-trolleys, helmets, gum boots, umbrellas, rain coats, generators, halogen lamps, powerful torches, and medicines assist them.
“We have begun track restoration work from both ends of the 55-km track between Sakleshpur and Subrahmanya Road railway stations. Motor-trolleys and material vehicles are run on the tracks up to the first possible spot. After the debris there is cleared, we go to the next spot,” Bharti said. So far, 12 of the 46 locations where disruptions have occurred have been cleared.
“Workers are deployed in eight-hour shifts and later to one of the two railway stations to take rest. Food is cooked in separate rooms at railway stations and delivered at the workspots,” Bharti explained.
While closure of the ghat section for rail traffic for a couple of days owing to landslides is an annual feature, the record-breaking rainfall and heavy landslides make this year’s operations extremely tough.
Divisional Railway Manager, Mysuru Division, Aparna Garg said, “The rainfall in Sakleshpur is almost double that of last year and the section between Subrahmanya Road and Yedakumari has become highly vulnerable in view of cumulative rainfall of 9,500 mm as against last year’s 3,583 mm at Yedakumari.”
16 railway staff members rescued
Hassan: Revenue officials with the help of police headed by Sakleshpur Assistant Commissioner Lakshmikanta Reddy and tahsildar Girish Nandan rescued 16 railway staff members who were stuck at Yedakumari Railway junction since August 14 following landslide caused by heavy rains. The officials visited the spot with a doctor and safely brought them to Sakleshpur town. The railway divisional manager had urged the Hassan DC Rohini Sinduri and principal secretary of the state government to airlift the staff as they could not move from the station.
The team headed by Assistant Commissioner reached Yedakumeri via Kaginahare village through trekking route as the aircraft officials refused to airlift them due to bad weather, heavy rain and strong wind in the area. The railway authorities have cancelled the trains between Yeshavantapura and Karwar via Subramanya and Mangaluru following landslide.
Partial cancellation of trains due to landslips
Bengaluru: Due to landslides at many locations along the Donigal-Yedakumari-Kadagaravalli-Shrivagilu block sections of the Sakleshpur-Subrahmanya Road Ghat Section of Mysuru division, the following trains will be partially cancelled between Karwar and Hassan: Yesvantpur-Karwar
Express scheduled for August 20 and 22, Karwar -Yesvantpur Express for August 20 and 22, and Karwar-Yesvantpur Express for August 18 and 21. In addition, the Yesvantpur-Mangalore Jn Express journey scheduled for August 19 and 21 will be partially cancelled between Hassan and Mangaluru junction.