MANGALURU: As massive landslides in Charmadi Ghat wreaked havoc in villages downstream of Netravathi river in Belthangady taluk, the forest department has decided to document it in order to find the causes and take corrective measures.
A team, headed by Mangaluru forest division DCF K Karikalan, went for an inspection of the ghat on Monday but they were stopped on their tracks by heavy rainfall and gushing floodwaters in the region. As a result, the forest department has decided to deploy drones for the purpose, once the rain subsides.
Speaking to TNIE, Karikalan attributed the landslides in the ghat section to heavy downpour coupled with stormy winds. He said the loose soil in the slope was also an important factor. Given the huge number of trees pulled down by floods, he suspected that a major landslip might have taken place on the Netravathi river bed in Charmadi-Kannapady Reserve Forest area. However, he said they want to know the exact location of these landslips and the factors that may have contributed for a devastation of such a magnitude. Hence, a drone survey has been taken up, he added.
He said, “Unlike landslides and floods that took place earlier that washed away dead trees, this time, fresh and standing trees in the core reserve forest of Charmadi Ghat have been washed away, which rarely happens. After the drone survey, forest department will also see if there is a need to carry out plantation in the affected areas besides other corrective measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.”
The official said that at least 1,000 trees have been washed away in the core reserve forest alone in Charmadi Ghat and it also led to the change in the normal river course, resulting in massive destruction of public and private properties. In some places, the fallen trees were found buried five to six feet deep. The forest department is having a tough time moving the timber to its depots.
Karikalan ruled out the possibility of non-forest activities like mining and others having led to the landslides, stating that all such activities have been stopped in the forest of this particular region long back.