Ponda: Following the landslide, which led to the closure of the Ponda-Belagavi national highway at Keriya, Khandepar on Monday, excavators were pressed into service to properly cut the hill on Tuesday.
Even though the work of ‘reshaping’ the downhill area is being carried out on a war footing, the road is likely to remain closed for traffic for four more days.
Considering the rainy condition and sliding landmass, it will take four more days to ‘reshape’ the hilly area completely and clear the road of the mud, said PWD engineer deployed at the spot.
Six excavators and several trucks along with more than 50 workers are pressed into the work and the work will continue around-the-clock, informed PWD officials.
In order to prevent further landslides, it has been decided to ‘reshape’ the entire hill from Keriya Khandepar to Somnath temple. The entire hill will be cut in a ‘scientific manner’, said the officials.
Though the people are blaming the contractor concerned for the ‘faulty’ hill cutting leading to landslide, the officials present with the contractor informed that they didn’t have any other option rather than cutting the hill steep.
Acquisition of the land beside the road is still under process and the contractor was not permitted to cut the hill beyond the acquired area by the PWD and the National Highway Authority of India. To make the road wide and carry on with the work further, steep hill cutting was the only option, the officials they added.
Presently, deputy Collector has given permission to the contractor to excavate the land that is not acquired yet by the PWD or National Highway Authority of India, considering the possibilities of life endangering situation, informed sources.
Considering the frequent landsides along the Ponda-Belagavi national highway at Keriya Khandepar, the South Goa District Magistrate Surendra Naik has ordered the closure of the road for all types of vehicles from June 25 until the ongoing work by the PWD is completed. [NT]