JORABAT, Aug 30 - After the completion of the stretch of the National Highway from Sonapur to Guwahati, frequent landslides and artificial floods have turned the area into a virtual �death zone�, with killer landslides occurring with alarming regularity.
Recently, landslides occurred in areas in 8th Mile, Ganeshmandir and in 13th Mile area of Jorabat and also on the Jorabat GN road. The landslide at 8th Mile (the Meghalaya side) caused loose earth and boulder from the hills to fall upon five lottery shops, and the workers of the counters had a providential escape.
In an interaction with The Assam Tribune, the 2nd Officer-In-Charge of Jorabat traffic outpost, EH Choudhury said that landslides had indeed become a disturbing concern, posing a threat not just to life and property but also causing frequent disruptions in traffic movement on the busy highway.
�The latest landslide did not completely block the highway due to the comparatively lesser amount of debris. This time the debris could not cross the divider on the highway, allowing vehicular movement on the other side of the same road,� he said.
It must be noted that there have been landslides in the same Jorabat 13th Mile areas previously resulting in deposition of huge amounts of mud and stone on the road, blocking the National Highway.
When asked about the factors behind the frequent landslides in the area, Dimoria All Assam Students� Union (AASU) chief advisor Dibyajyoti Medhi said, �Unscientific hill cutting, deforestation on the hills, non-maintenance of proper slope during hill cutting and lack of proper research on soil material for highway construction by the MBL construction company and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI)�s consultancy firm RITES Ltd, are the main reasons behind landslides.�
He alleged that there had been large-scale corruption during construction of the highway�s Jorabat-Sonapur stretch. Jorabat AASU unit filed a complaint against the engineers working under Rites Ltd consultancy firm, to the NHAI, Regional Officer of North East, Raj Chakrabarti on August 17 last on the water-logging problem at Jorabat.
Landslides apart, the areas in and around Jorabat have also witnessed severe flash floods following the highway construction. Matters have not improved as the authorities concerned have not yet come up with the appropriate scientific interventions to check the menace.