Dasara celebrations hit by floods

During the initial days of the monsoon, rain gave hopes of revival of the economy thereby, encouraging the state government to announce that Dasara would be celebrated on a grand scale this year. However, the same rain may now force the government to reconsider its decision.

Dasara is expected to be a low-key affair, as rains became excessive, resulting in devastation of many parts of the state, including places in the Mysuru region.

Over the past few years, drought was the reason for scaling down of Dasara celebrations. Over the past two decades, drought has affected the Dasara celebrations at least eight times. Now, floods will result in low-key Dasara.

Floods may also affect many other celebrations. Dasara is a significant festival in Kodagu district also as major processions are held in Madikeri and Gonikoppa of Kodagu. This year, Madikeri is not in a position to host Dasara. While many people from Kodagu were not in a position to celebrate Bakrid on Wednesday, many were helping out their neighbours, relatives and friends. Muneer Ahmed of Gonikoppa said, even though the damage in his town and surrounding villages is not much, most of the Muslims from there were involved in relief work in Madikeri and Somwarpet taluks, instead of celebrating Bakrid.

The damages have been severe and irreversible, particularly in Kodagu district in the catchment area of Cauvery River, the lifeline of the region. The hillocks of the Western Ghats on which plantations had been developed and houses had been constructed, have disappeared in North Kodagu — Madikeri and Somwarpet taluks. So, it is not just the crops and houses that have disappeared, but lands too have been wiped out.

Besides, the damages have extended to Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajanagar districts in the Cauvery basin. Hemavathi, Harangi and Kapila Rivers, the tributaries of the River Cauvery, were also in spate, causing hardships for the people.

The damage due to rains is considerable in Sakleshpur taluk of Hassan district. Sakleshpur is also the catchment area of the River Hemavathi. The rains in the neighbouring Kerala state and also in parts of H D Kote taluk, in Mysuru district, the catchment area of River Kapila, inundated parts of HD Kote, Nanjangud and T Narsipur taluks in Mysuru district. The Cauvery River flooded parts of Periyapatna, Hunsur and K R Nagar taluks in Mysuru district; Srirangapatna and Malavalli taluks in Mandya district; and Kollegal taluk in Chamarajanagar district. Overflowing rivers flooded human habitations and farmlands. Floods have damaged roads, bridges, houses and commercial establishments like buildings and industries.

The Mysuru district administration has postponed Gajapayana, which was supposed to be held on Thursday. Gajapayana is the march of the elephants to Mysuru, from the jungle camps to participate in Dasara festivities. This year, Dasara would commence on October 10 and the Jamboo Savari will be held on October 19, Vijayadashami.

Sources in the district administration said, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy would take a call on the celebration of Dasara, following the flood situation.

It has to be recalled that the CM, who chaired the High Power Committee meeting on July 11 in Bengaluru, had directed the officials concerned to make all arrangements to celebrate Dasara in a grand manner. The district administration too had held several meetings and had planned a variety of programmes and events. There were plans to invite the Indian Armed Forces — the Indian Air Force — to organise an Air Show, ahead of Dasara to attract more tourists.

Dasara was a simple affair in 2001 and 2002 due to the earthquake in Gujarat and drought in Karnataka respectively. In 2011 and 2012 also it was celebrated in a simple manner due to drought. Again in 2015 and 2016, the celebrations were scaled down in view of drought and a spate of farmers’ suicide. After a long time, only in 2017, that is last year, Dasara was normal.

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Dasara celebrations hit by floods

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