Over 2,000 passengers in more than 500 vehicles had a harrowing 15 hours after landslides and tree-falls shut the Charmadi Ghat section of the National Highway (NH) 75, leading to a 16-km pileup since the night of Monday, 11 June.
According to a report by The Times of India, passengers were stranded without food, water or mobile network. All buses going from Bengaluru to Mangaluru reportedly have to cross the ghat.
Several trees between hairpin curves 1 and 8 were uprooted around midnight, when the downpour began. At least nine places witnessed landslides. Around 12:30 am, locals left Banakal and Kottigehara on two-wheelers to clear the road, the report added.
The police informed their counterparts in Chikkamagaluru who started diverting vehicles from Kottigehara – the topmost point of the ghat section and entry point into Dakshina Kannada.
Ravikanthe Gowda, SP, Dakshina Kannada, told the daily that around 10 huge trees blocked the road. Police personnel from Chikkamagaluru and Dakshina Kannada began to remove the mud and trees from 8 am; the stretch was cleared for oneway traffic by around 3 pm.
Police and local villagers managed to get the vehicles moving by 2 pm on Tuesday after earthmovers were put to the job.
However, vehicles which had already entered the stretch were stranded for nearly 15 hours.
According to Deccan Chronicle, the ghat will be closed till 14 June.
All the vehicles have been diverted via Sampaje-Madikeri or Naravi-Bajegoli-Mudigere-Belur route, reported The Times of India.
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(With inputs from The Times of India and Deccan Chronicle)
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