KALLUGUNDI (DK): Many people living in the hilly terrain of Jodupala, Madenadu, Thalathmane, Mannageri and others on Kodagu-Dakshina Kannada border keep multiple SIM cards which they often swap depending on the availability of signals to keep in touch with their loved ones. But when the mountains came crashing on their houses last Friday, their trick hardly came to their rescue. The cellphone service providers do not seriously count on these poor villagers when it comes to providing quality service.
On the fateful day, the villagers could not access any of the networks in spite of struggling to keep in touch with the authorities to save them. Several mobile signal towers were power-dry as the operators had not bothered to set them right in time.
Madhav, a farm labourer from Jodupala said normally people in these villages have to walk up the hill or climb trees to get mobile signal. If they do not, then they swap it with another SIM card and the exercise goes on till they get in touch with their dear ones. “If there was network on that day, people would have received timely alerts which would have helped them escape the nature’s fury,” said Vani, a lecturer at government college in Madikeri who is from Jodupala.
Four people from the same family died in Jodupala, of which the bodies of two are still missing. Mohitha (30) who works in a private company in Tiptur, Tumakuru district, who lost his parents, sister and cousin, was glued to the television channel in Tiptur when he heard of disaster striking his native village. Soon, he grabbed his cellphone and tried to get in touch with his family members and friends in order to alert them but could not. “Two days before the tragedy struck, my sister had called me to inform about the hillock behind our house developing a wide crack. That was the last time I spoke to a family member,” said Mohith, as his eyes welled up.