Heavy rains cut-off isolated village in Chikkamagaluru

Heavy rains cut-off isolated village in Chikkamagaluru

Troops from the Madras Engineers Group evacuate Narayan Gowda, a 48-year-old resident from Alehkhan, who was trapped under a tree for 36 hours in Chikkamagaluru District on 11 August 2019.

As Chikkamagaluru district became the next focal point for heavy rains on Sunday, one of its first victims became a remote village that was cut off by landslides, and a resident who found himself trapped under a tree.

Reports of heavy rainfall in the district and in Shivamogga on Saturday, had prompted the army to dispatch 100 troops spread among two Engineering Task Forces (ETF) from the Madras Engineers Group in Bengaluru under the overall command of Colonel Kamalesh S Bisht.

While ETF 2, under the command of major Sunny Singal went to Shivamogga and Sagar, ETF 1 under Captain Mallikarjun, along with Colonel Bisht travelled to Chikkamagaluru, headed towards Madhugiri.

Colonel Kamalesh S Bisht (centre, in beret) watches a group of his troops from the Madras Engineers Group pull a tree at Alehkhan in Chikkamagaluru District.

 According to Colonel Bisht, the task force arrived at 4 am on Sunday morning when they received work from the District Commissioner Bagadi Gautham that a village named Alehkhan some 40 miles away had been cut-off by landslides and heavy rainfall.

“We made haste to move towards the village at first light and found that the last 15 kms of road to the village had been badly damaged by rains and that a great swathe of trees had been felled by landslides,” Colonel Bisht said.

 Troops from the Madras Engineers Group evacuate residents from Alehkhan,which was cut-off by a landslide in Chikkamagaluru District on 11 August 2019.

He added that the task force was only able to reach Alehkhan six hours later, during which troops used the fallen trees to improvise culverts and canals.

When contact was made with the village, the inhabitants reported that they been cut-off for two days. Although many of the inhabitants were undernourished and weak from the ordeal, at least one was in serious condition. 

Dr Narayan Gowda (48) had been walking through a field on the outskirts of the village when he was caught in a downpour. Army troops found him pinned by the neck by a great tree.

“Paralyzed from the neck down and in great pain, he told us that he been trapped in that position for 36 hours,” Colonel Bisht said.

Troops freed him the tree, created a makeshift stretcher use poles and sent him to a forward medical station seven kilometers away. The army said that Gowda is currently in stable condition at the Mudigere Government Hospital but is suffering from paralysis.

An army spokesperson said that 72 inhabitants of the village have been rescued. The troops are now working to rescue stranded people along Durgadahalli Road.