The worst is seemingly over for the people of Kodagu, after a devastating week of rains last week that resulted in frightening landslides and floods in 79 villages. According to The Hindu, “Kodagu district received 897 mm of rain during the week (August 5-11) against a normal of 158 mm, which is 468% more than the normal rainfall.”
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However, thanks to an alert administration, more than 6,000 residents from 1,970 families have been evacuated to safety and are currently lodged in the 42 relief centres spread across the district.
The administration has managed to bring these residents to safety even though the movement of vehicles has been severely affected because of landslides and floods.
Glimpses of Flood & Landslide situation in Kodagu#KodaguMonsoon2019 #KodaguOnHighAlert@publictvnews @suvarnanewstv @tv9kannada @NDRFHQ @HMOKarnataka @CMofKarnataka @mepratap pic.twitter.com/5u494ll6fV
— Shammi Chendanda (@shammicb) August 8, 2019
Leading this charge are three women—Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy (IAS/2012), SP Dr Suman D Pennekar (IPS/2013) and CEO- ZP K Lakshmi Priya (IAS/2015)—and on Sunday, a photo of them supervising the relief efforts, went viral on the internet.
The Better India takes a brief look at the three women trying to restore Kodagu to normalcy.
Annies Kanmani Joy
A resident of Ernakulam district, Kerala, Annies holds a BSc in Nursing from the Trivandrum Medical College and made history in 2012 by becoming one of the first professional nurses to be selected as an Indian Administrative Service officer.
Besides firefighting against the devastating landslides, she has done her share of battling elements that have exacerbated the landslides in this ecologically-sensitive region in the few months she has taken over the post.
For starters, she has rejected more than 500 applications for converting agricultural land for commercial purposes in her district based on the recommendations by an 18-member team of experts who visited the area last year. They said that a significant cause for the landslides was the conversion of green spaces for commercial ventures.
She has also battled the notorious timber mafia in the district by banning the felling and transportation of timber.
Dr Suman D Pennekar
Following up on the DC’s measures, the Kodagu Police led by this fearless Superintendent of Police arrested the kingpin of the timber mafia, Kallichanda Noban, and seized timber worth Rs 1 crore following a raid on his property.
Despite stern warnings from the mafia, she has remained fearless in enforcing the rule of banning the felling and transportation of trees.
A native of the Beed village in Belagavi, the Indian Police Service Officer, is also a qualified Ayurvedic doctor, who joined the civil services to improve the living standards of rural India.
Last year, in her first assignment as SP, she reported for duty in Kodagu district on 13 July, which was when the monsoon hit its peak. Alongside then DC PI Srividya, this fearless policewoman worked with 1,200 personnel from different agencies and government departments to rescue 4,300 people stranded as a result of the floods and landslides, reports Deccan Chronicle.
K Lakshmi Priya
It’s still early days for the Zila Panchayat Chief Executive Officer K Lakshmi Priya, but she is already making her mark in the district.
She has previously served as an assistant secretary at the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change after completing her training.
Lakshmi is the beneficiary of a system instituted by the Centre, whereby IAS officers would work for three months in the Central government before heading out to their respective state cadres. Earlier, officers would directly go to their respective state cadres.
Thanks to her training, particularly with the environment ministry, she has a better understanding of how the administration works at the Centre which will help her coordinate relief efforts better, besides establishing a better network with senior-most officers.
Meanwhile, on the ground, she is already making strides by visiting places in the Kadagadalu Gram Panchayat limits, collecting information on children who have dropped out, and getting them re-enrolled in schools, reports Deccan Herald.
Request all citizens to lend a helping hand to the people in distress due to floods in the State by contributing generously to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund – Natural Calamity #CMRF #KarnatakaFloods #NorthKarnatakaFloods pic.twitter.com/KtMSfBaf2y
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) August 8, 2019
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)