Bengaluru: Former revenue minister, R.V. Deshpande, who initiated several measures to mitigate the havoc caused by floods and landslides in Kodagu last year, says political parties should jointly address challenges such as climate change, deforestation and encroachment of water bodies.
He told Deccan Chronicle: “Our state has experienced either floods or drought, or at times both, for 14 years. We had normal rainfall for only four years in the last 19 years. This clearly tells us where we are headed. We destroyed the environment, and if we do not take proactive measures, we will have no future.”
Geological Survey of India (GSI) commissioned a study on landslides in Kodagu at the behest of Mr Deshpande. “Following submission of the report (BY GSI), I tried to sensitise different agencies on precautionary measures and long term steps to be taken. We bought lifesaving jackets and other materials and stored them with the district administration of areas which experienced heavy rains. This year, they all came to use. For instance, in many places, we observed concrete bridges standing like islands after destruction. This happened because of two reasons: one, the engineers tried to change the course of the water body to construct bridges to suit the bridge and the highway . Two, the design and construction of embankment and roads connecting the bridges were not technically fool-proof, leading to destruction and cutting off highways,” he added.
He said thousands of small and big tanks shrank over the years, and unless these tanks were recharged with proper channels for water, floods could not be controlled. “In my constituency, Haliyal, I undertook tank desilting perhaps after a century. As a result, the tanks became big and could hold large quantity of water. And during the recent floods, all tanks got filled up and did not result in major devastation anywhere,” he added....