Traveling over IDUKKI ARCH DAM By KSRTC
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus depot at Kattappana wears a deserted look, covered with mud and debris.
The workshop building and a waiting shed is completely under the debris accumulated over 12 ft high, in addition to a damaged portion of the office building. An initial loss of ₹5 crore was estimated to the bus depot which became operational in 2006.
The landslips at Vellayamkudy near Kattappana on the Puliyanmala-Thodupuzha Highway not only destroyed the bus depot but also another multi-storeyed commercial building under construction. Puliyanmala-Thodupuzha route diverted through the Idukki dam top.
The ground floor under construction now is under a heap of mud. The authorities have issued stop memo to multi-storeyed buildings nearby as chances of landslips still prevail.
An official of the KSRTC told that it would take more time to operate buses from here as the water stream created by the landslips still flowing.
Moreover a portion of the hill still remains raising the threat of another landslip. He said it would be a huge work to make the bus depot operational again.
On the day before the massive landslips on August 18, all the buses parked here were moved to a safe place in front of the depot and the office staff were shifted to nearby places which helped the damage control measures. As the area experienced landslips, it was decided to remove the buses from here, he said.
Now the workshop is functioning in front of the depot in the open air. A few buses are also parked in front of a commercial building which remained closed like many other shops here.
The Vellayamkudy town looked like a war-ravaged village after the landslips with only a few local people moved in there.
The old bus stand under the Kattappana municipality is now being operated as the temporary bus station. The services to interior areas are yet to be started. Almost all the buses lie idle at the old bus stand.
The official said that the KSRTC suffered huge losses in terms of damage to the depot and after many services cancelled.
The KSRTC had an edge over the private bus services as it operated a large number of buses from Kattappana on routes heavily damaged in the floods.
Though the road at Churuli near Kothamangalam on Neryamangalam route was cleared, three tyres busted there on Friday and the services were diverted on an alternative route.
Though, the services on the Puliyanmala-Thodupuzha route diverted through the Idukki dam top, only six trips could be operated as only cut chassis buses were allowed on the dam top.
At many places where the debris of the landslips still remained, only one-way traffic was possible on the narrow path.
It would be a Herculean task before the KSRTC make all services operational from Kattappana especially on the damaged roads in the High Ranges.