MADIKERI: The more than 600 rainwater harvesting pits that were dug across Gajagiri Hills and Bramhagiri Hills in Talacauvery are now being closed by the forest department. In 2016, the forest department, along with a local NGO, had dug 5,500 rainwater harvesting pits across the Gajagiri Hills and Bramhagiri Hills in Talacauvery.
Earth movers were used in the process and the project was aimed at recharging the ground water around the surroundings of Talacauvery. However, these pits turned the two hills vulnerable, with Bramhagiri developing cracks in the earth in 2019. Further, a landslide was witnessed at Gajagiri Hills in August 2020, and five, including the Talacauvery Temple priest, were killed in one of the incidents.
A Geological Survey of India report was sought at the landslide spot, which cited the rainwater harvesting pits as the reason behind the massive landslide. Following this report, the then Kodagu District Deputy Commissioner Annies K Joy had ordered closure of the pits to avoid further landslide. After much delay in carrying out the said relief work, the forest department has now taken up the task of closing the rainwater harvesting pits.
Work to be completed in a couple of days
However, only 600 of the pits located in the vulnerable area across Gajagiri Hills are being currently covered by the forest department. The work is ongoing at a fast pace, and will see completion in a couple of days.