Udupi, June 8,2017:According to current information, the Uudpi district administration has decided to book a police case against the contractor and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the landslip from a hillock which blocked traffic on the National Highway 66 at Othinane village near Byndoor in Udupi district in the early hours of June 7, Wednesday.
Thousands of passengers, tourists remained on the national highway for nearly 5 hours as the officials failed to take any action quickly after the incident.
It is miracle that the landslip did not result in casualties or any other damage. Traffic was blocked for over three hours due to the landslip. There were queues of vehicles for over two kilometres on either side of the highway due to the blockage.
Later, the debris that had fallen on both the lanes of the highway due to the landslip was cleared with the help of an earthmover and traffic was restored on the highway by about 9 a.m.
Udupi DC Priyanka Mary Francis told media that the district administration had been alerting the contractor doing the widening work of NH 66 and the NHAI about the danger posed by the soil on the side of the hillock for a while. But both claimed that everything was under control and also submitted a report to that effect. But landslip showed that their behaviour was irresponsible, DC said.
The planning was not right as landslip on such a steep cutting (of hillock) could not be prevented by any other measure. Such a landslip was expected. “Why was there gross indefference in the work, they have to explain,” she said. DC Francis said that the district administration had brought the matter of the landslip to the notice of Secretary, Public Works Department, who, in turn, had directed the General Manager, NHAI, to visit the spot at Othinane and decide on the future course of remedial measures.
The administration had instructed the contractor and the NHAI to take steps to prevent recurrence of landslip. “Otherwise, they should block the traffic on that stretch and divert it,” she said.
Santhosh A. Kaikini, Sub Inspector of Byndoor Police Station, said that traffic got blocked due to landslip from the hillock area at Othinane at around 5.30 a.m. on June 7, Wednesday. This led to traffic jam. The soil on the hillock had become loose due to rain and this resulted in the landslip, he said.