MADIKERI: Mountains are cracking open and videos of the opened cracks are being circulated online even as residents of Virajpet fear the worst. While respite from heavy rains is welcomed by the residents, the fear of leaving behind their shelters still lingers, as many have been shifted from their homes to relief centres.
Aiyappa Betta, close to Virajpet town, is home to nearly 50 families. While the first crack on this hill developed sometime in April this year, the crack has deepened further, following incessant rainfall during August. And district administration, to avoid loss to life and as a precautionary measure, has shifted out families from this area to relief centres. “If this hill slides, the entire Virajpet town will be under the landslide debris,” opined Subbaiah, a resident.
Similarly, a house at Nehru Nagar in Virajpet developed a crack last year and this deepened to over 20 metres this year following rains. Another place near Karada in Virajpet taluk - Malethirike Betta too has developed a crack and is at the risk of collapse if rains continue. “This hill has developed a crack up to 25-feet deep and action has been taken to shift families out of this area as a safety measure,” said SP Suman Pannekar, who visited the spot on Thursday for an inspection.
As an immediate relief work, the district administration is filling up these cracks with cement and sand. Tarpaulins are laid over them to avoid seepage of rainwater. A request has been forwarded to Geological Survey of India (GSI) to visit the spot and conduct a survey.
“Scientists are heading to Kodagu on August 16. The cause for the development of cracks will be known only after observation of the spot,” said KV Maruthi, Director of GSI.