The Lakshmanatirtha inundates paddy fields and submerges roads

The Lakshmanatirtha has assumed minatory proportions this monsoon. Paddy fields have been inundated, roads have been submerged, and villages have been marooned in the southern parts of Kodagu district.

Mallur village has been cut off from other areas. Residents have abandoned farming until the water recedes completely. This happens every year. They have only a small route along the forests to go to Nittur, the nearby town.

Also, elephant proof trenches have made their movement precarious. “My cousin’s jeep fell into a trench recently,” Chekkera Navin, a resident, said. “Some time ago, we were cut off from the rest of the world for nearly a month,” he said.

Kumbarakatte, Paladallakatte, and tribal colonies such as Tattekere, Jagale and surrounding areas are badly hit as a vast area of paddy fields are submerged in the river. It resembles a muddy sea.

Residents of Mallur, which has a population of 500, and surrounding areas are spending sleepless nights these days.

Meanwhile, paddy seedlings have come under the overflowing river more than five times this season. Addengada Girish lost his seedlings thrice. Farmers will not take up transplantation till the rain stops fully. “Recently, we did not have power for five days,” Mr. Navin said.

Heavy rain in Birunani, Kutta, and Srimangala in the last two days has led to a heavy inflow into the Lakshmanatirtha and many areas are flooded.

Kottageri is another flood affected village, says Suresh Chengappa, a resident of Balele, whose paddy fields get submerged in the waters.

In the past, the floods would stay for more than two to three weeks, engulfing paddy fields and cutting off Balele and Nittur from other parts of the district. However, dredging of Begurkolli, a major stream, has ensured that it lasted only for a couple of days. Coffee berries were also destroyed in the rain, Mr. Chengappa said.

A few residents feel that the check dam across the river at Hanagodu near Hunsur was the reason for the floods as water that fills the weir would push back the onward flowing water from Kodagu resulting in floods.

Different opinion

However, Sreekanth, a farmer from Hunsur, begs to differ. “There are two other weirs across the Lakshmanatirtha at Ramanahalli and Kattemalalavadi. Water from these weirs fills a number of smaller tanks in and around Hunsur. It will help irrigate over 40,000 acres of land in Hunsur and Periyapatna taluks of Mysore district,” he said.

The Lakshmanatirtha passage in Kodagu is small and narrow at many locations. In view of this, even if there is about four ft water, it would inundate the plain areas in no time, Mr. Sreekanth said.

Mr. Chengappa says raising the height of roads and bridges that crisscross the river could provide some relief from flood.

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