Mysuru: The landslides that accompanied heavy rain in Kodagu this monsoon have been blamed on thoughtless human intervention in the region by a team from the Geological Survey of India, and officers of the state government following a preliminary post- disaster study in Virajpet and Bagamandala in the district.
The report on the disaster that left several dead and many homeless, says modification of hill slopes through cutting and benching for construction of houses and road widening without proper support has destabilised them and warns that this is likely to trigger landslides in the future too. Geologists, Sunandan Basu and Kapil Singh, who inspected the surface crack near a house in Aiyyappa Hill, and another surface crack on the hilltop in Nehrunagar in Virajpet taluk, pointed out that the entire area was basically a settlement on a modified slope.
They noted that several benches had been made for house construction without any back support for the cut slopes.
Explaining that modifications in the form of cutting and benching of steep or moderate slopes without mitigation measures, reduced their stability, they blamed this practice also for the subsiding of a road before the Aiyyappa temple in the Aiyappa Hill area.
On the surface crack near the mid slope of the Brahmagiri Hill at the Talacauvery temple they said, “There are multiple contour trenches made by the forest department for conservation of water and prevention of soil erosion. These trenches are aligned parallel to the crack and situated near the upslope of the cracks. It cannot be ruled out that the trenches with standing water may have allowed infiltration into the overburdened material. There is also a slope cut for road expansion, which is unsupported.” As for the landslide on Heggala road in Virajpet taluk, the geologists observed that it had occurred just after blasting at a quarry opposite.