Four months after the natural calamity hit Kodagu, the inter-state bus service between Karnataka and Kerala has commenced in Virajpet.
The heavy rain followed by landslides had damaged Konanooru-Makutta inter-state highway. The highway had caved in at three places on the stretch, disrupting the movement of vehicles.
Though the authorities had commenced repair work immediately, only the movement of light vehicles were allowed on the stretch from October. Without the bus service, the commuters were inconvenienced. To facilitate the movement of people, the KSRTC had introduced two mini buses till Makutta.
As the temporary repair works have been completed, deputy commissioner has allowed the movement of buses and lorries on the stretch. With this, traders have heaved a sigh of relief.
In 2018, heavy rainfall had damaged the road at many places and it was closed for several months. After the construction of retaining wall, the movement of vehicles was allowed on the stretch. However, the heavy rain in 2019 again took a toll on the road.
"As the road is situated on the border of Kerala, the closure of the road had affected business activities. Construction materials were transported from Kerala to Karnataka on the road. Further, pulses and vegetables from Kodagu district were transported to Kerala. The closure of the road had inconvenienced the traders and farmers of the region," said a trader.
The commencement of bus service will benefit devotees visiting Sabarimala. Though buses and lorries are allowed on the stretch, the permanent restoration work of Konanooru-Makutta road is yet to be taken up. If permanent restoration work is not taken up, then the landslides will recur in the monsoon next year as well, said the residents.
Though the district administration has allowed the movement of lorries and buses on the stretch, it has prohibited the movement of heavily laden trucks. Further, the speed limit of the vehicles should be restricted to 40 kmph, said Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy.
Trader Subhash said, ''The movement of buses and lorries on Konanooru-Makutta Road will benefit traders from South Kodagu''.