Earth caved in and huge rocks tumbled down at the site of the road-widening works of the Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway at Gap Road in Munnar on Sunday, blocking traffic on the stretch. Sources said the landslip occurred around 4 a.m. from a hill, a portion of which was taken for the widening work. The rocks fell from a height of nearly 150 feet, a few of them on the vehicles parked there. No casualties were reported.
The road was strewn with mud and rocks for nearly a 400 metres. Vehicles parked in the site and three shops by the road were damaged. A bison too fell down along with the debris and the officials were trying to rescue the animal, said the sources.
Devikulam Subcollector Renuraj visited the spot and directed the NH officials to remove the rocks and earth from the road and restore the traffic. However, an NH official said at least two weeks would be required to remove the debris as the rocks had to be blasted. Till then traffic would be blocked on the stretch. In December last, landslips on Gap Road had resulted in traffic disruption for a week.
In the floods of last August, the NH in Munnar had witnessed many landslips. It was alleged that authorities had failed to take adequate measures to prevent landslips while conducting the earth work on the loose soil in the hill areas. The construction of the road in the ghat area needed to be done scientifically, according to environmentalists in Munnar The construction of the 42-kilometre Munnar-Poopara-Bodymettu stretch had started last year and it is the main route for visitors to reach Munnar.