Major Disaster Waiting to Unfold at Kharghuli Hills
GUWAHATI: A chunk of land from a road in the hilly terrains of Kharghuli fell into the backyard of the residence of renowned architect Arijit Choudhury due to a recent downpour in the Lower Ramsa Hill West Road, connecting Namghar Tiniali to Jaypur.
Incidents of this sort have now become perpetual which explains the precarious conditions of roads in this area located in the northern part of Guwahati city.
With landslides reported from this area frequently, a major disaster could be on its way. Residents fear that another landslide in the area could also completely cut off the top part of the hill from the rest of the city.
Earlier, in 2012, a landslide had occurred at the same spot in the compound of Choudhury’s residence during a spell of rains which had become a major matter of concern for residents of the locality. “As a precautionary measure, the PWD department under Chandmari division of the city came up with a solution that could be considered as a ‘Green Engineering Marvel’,” said Coudhury, taking a jibe at authorities for building a temporary retainer wall with bamboo and simply putting up a warning sign for passers-by.
“This has been going on for some time - for about 8 years. The last time it happened in 2012 and after that almost every year this happens. Some government officials had come over; they had a meeting here on the spot. They made an inspection and went back,” said the resident of Kharghuli.
“After some time a contractor came back and asked where they could put the materials for a proper retainer wall but that was the end of it. Nothing happened after that. The only precaution they took was that they put up some bamboos and that was the only thing that they did,” he added.
Prior to this incident, officials from PWD, Guwahati Municipal Corporation and Disaster Management Authority visited the spot to take stock of the situation in 2012. “This was actually supposed to be done during the time when the then Commissioner Karuna Dutta Lahkar had asked PWD to make a retainer wall here. But that was the end of it,” he said.
Early action for a permanent solution in this regard is solicited by the residents. Should the road some collapse, the residents in the upper section of the hillock will be cut off from the rest of the city while serious damage can be expected to the residents who live below this portion.
The bamboo wall erected by the PWD in 2012. Photo by Arch Arijit Choudhury