BELAGAVI/ BENGALURU: Heavy rains and floods paralysed normal life in many parts of the state on Tuesday. While thousands of families were rescued from several villages that are marooned, road and rail connectivity was cut off at several places. The local administration has declared holiday for schools and colleges in flood-affected districts.
While Belagavi in North Karnataka was the worst hit, many other districts including Raichur, Yadgir, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu, Shivamogga, Dakshina Kannada, Chikkamagalur and parts of Kalaburagi too suffered due to the flood fury.
Meanwhile, the Central Water Commission, Bengaluru, has warned that due to continuous heavy rainfall, there will be a rapid rise in the water level of the rivers in Cauvery and Krishna (Tunga and Bhadra) basins, and west-flowing rivers in the state. The district to be affected are Kodagu, Chikkamagalur, Hassan, Shivamogga, Mandya, Chamarajanagar, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Belagavi, Vijayapura, Bagalkot, Kalaburagi, Yadgir and Raichur. The state and civil authorities have been advised to take appropriate measures.
Train traffic between Yeshwantpur and Karwar was disrupted following a landslide near Shiravagilu-Subramanya junctions. Railway officials stopped the Yeshwantpur-Karwar express train at Hassan Junction and made alternative arrangements for the passengers to reach their destinations. A railway rescue operation team, engineers and technical staff from Mysuru rushed to the site with earthmovers and are making efforts to clear the debris and boulders on the tracks,but heavy rain is hampering the operation. Railway authorities said train services are likely to resume by Wednesday evening. Sources also said the railway authorities are planning to stop train services between Hassan and Karwar for some days due to continuous landslides in the Western Ghats.
A major mudslide and flow of water under the rail tracks at Tinaighat near Londa brought train services between Goa and Belagavi to a halt since Monday evening. Landslides at Amboli Ghat and Chorla Ghat has affected movement of vehicles.
Road and rail connectivity to Belagavi has also been cut off. The busy Pune-Bengaluru National Highway (NH4) is closed since Monday night due to a landslide near Kolhapur and submersion of a strech of road near Belagavi, while NH-4A, which connects Goa and Belagavi, is closed at Khanapur due to the submersion of Ghataprabha bridge.
According to Inspector General of Police Raghavendra Suhas, movement of vehicles on NH-4 has been banned since Monday evening due to landslide at Shiroli while a section of the highway at Yamgarni near Belagavi is inundated in the overflowing Vedganga river. He said the NH will be closed for vehicles from Belagavi to Kolhapur for another 24 hours.
In Belagavi, owing to torrential rains and flooding of rivers, 76 villages were completely marooned. Thousands of people caught in the floods in 50 villages were evacuated by Tuesday and situation is likely to get worse as the inflow into Krishna river, which is already overflowing, is expected to reach 5 lakh cusecs by Tuesday night. Three people have died due to floods and rainfall in the district in the last few days while 599 houses have been partially damaged in the affected areas, according to Belagavi Deputy Commissioner S B Bommanahalli.
In Uttara Kannada district, Kali, Gangavali and Aghanashini rivers have been overflowing since the last two days and NH 63 has been closed since Monday afternoon. Over 500 trucks were stranded on the highway in Yellapur and Ankola taluks. In Kodagu district, people were using rafts and boats on the Napoklu-Bhagamandala routes.
In a dare-devil operation, a team of Fire personnel evacuated 15 people caught in flash floods near Teerth in Athani taluk on Tuesday evening. According to rescuers, the 15 would have washed away if the team had not reached in time to save them.
Following incessant overnight rain across the border areas of Kolhapur, Sangli and Belagavi districts, inflow at Almatti dam, Narayanpur reservoir, Hidkal reservoir and Ghataprabha dam has risen drastically, making the ongoing rescue operation more tedious and risky. The operations are being conducted non-stop to ensure that all those trapped in the deluge are evacuated to safety.
According to officials, authorities are planning to bolster rescue efforts as more villages may be marooned in the next 24 hours in Athani and Chikkodi taluks. Apart from 25 low-lying roads and bridges that remain submerged for the past few days, the Jatt-Jamboti state highway near Athani is also about to go under water.
PSI dies while manning traffic
Belagavi: A police sub-inspector (PSI) manning traffic on Pune-Bengaluru National Highway 4 died after he was rammed by a speeding car near Kittur on Tuesday.The deceased has been identified as Irranna Lathe (47) of Kittur Police Station. According to sources, while easing traffic on the road, Lathe spotted a speeding car and signalled it to stop, but its driver, hit the accelerator instead. The car sped ahead and the PSI was caught in its path, killing him on the spot. Kittur police registered the case.