Nandi Hills shut after landslide; spotlight on projects

Nandi Hills shut after landslide; greens warn against projects

Deputy Commissioner R Latha, who visited the spot, said the landslide was caused by heavy rains

A damaged road at Nandi Hills on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Credit: DH Photo/ B K Janardhan

A landslide at the foot of the Nandi Hills washed away a part of the road and stranded several tourists, prompting officials to close the tourist centre for a month. The incident threw spotlight on the proposed development projects and mining activities in the surrounding areas.

The slurry from the landslide washed away a part of the Nandi Hills main road about a kilometre from the checkpost. Tourists were brought down from the hill along a pathway and a temporary road had to be constructed to bring back their vehicles one by one.

Deputy Commissioner R Latha, who visited the spot, said the landslide was caused by heavy rains. “Nandi and Brahmagiri hills are part of the same rock formation. The soil has accumulated over years and formed smaller hills. A part of a hill was washed away,” she said, adding that the restoration of the road will take up to a month.

“We had already restricted the number of tourists to the hills to the limits of the parking space on the top,” she said.

Environmentalists cautioned that the government’s continued support to mining in the area surrounding the hills was destabilising the hills, and said no more development projects should be allowed before studying the carrying capacity.

Former secretary of Forest Department A N Yellappa Reddy, who met Assembly Speaker Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri to request declaration of Nandi Hills as a heritage zone, said urgent measures were needed to stop further damage. 

“Nandi Hills is part of the Dharwar Craton that forms the bedrock of the southern peninsula. As if the damage caused by mining was not enough, governments have been pushing for unscientific projects, from road widening to the ropeway,” he said.

Reddy said the hills support a fragile ecosystem and the landslide was a stark warning. “People visiting the area have to be educated about Nandi Hills being more than just a weekend getaway. The flora and fauna require protection,” he added.

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