VIJAYAWADA: While landslides during monsoon are not a new thing in hilly areas, the alarming frequency of such incidents in the city is definitely a cause of concern for residents as well as the civic body alike.
It was recently that a boulder from the Gunadala Hill in the city claimed a life setting alarm bells ringing among the hill slope residents in the city.
This was the second such incident in the city in the last few days. Recently, boulders rolled down the hill at Moghalrajpuram damaging the stairway path and walls of several houses. No casualties were reported though.
Meanwhile, the officials of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) seem to have learned no lesson despite several incidents of landslides being reported in the city.
The officials and people’s representatives who visited the Gunadala Hill to console the families affected by landslide recently did not spare a thought of relocating the hill slope residents to planes. Instead, they asked them to move to government schools for temporary accommodation.
Meanwhile, residents of hill slope areas continue to live in a state of fear. “We have no idea when the boulders will roll down from the hill during the rainy season. We have submitted several representations to the civic body to allocate housing facilities for hill slope residents in and around the city. However, officials seem to have forgotten our cause. At least now, the officials should allocate adequate housing facilities for us,” said S Simhachalam, a resident of Brahmananda Reddy Nagar.
However, the VMC officials have a different story to tell. According to estimates of VMC Town Planning department, around 50,000 families live in 10 different locations on the hill-slopes. Several houses were constructed about two decades ago and are now in a dilapidated shape. “It is a gigantic task to undertake rescue operations during landslides as heavy machinery like earthmover cannot reach the accident spot on the hill-slopes,” the officials claimed.
Civic Body’s take
Citing frequent incidents of landslides, VMC has called for tenders for construction of protection walls along all hills in the city several times. However, contractors are reportedly not coming forward to take up the Herculean task despite the civic body calling tenders four times so far.
“Constructing a protection or retaining wall on the hill slopes of the city is the need of the hour,” said Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Ch Babu Rao. Rao found fault with the VMC for failing to take steps in materialising the proposal of constructing retaining or protection walls on the hills.
boulders rolling down from a Hill damaged a VMC water tank and Bellapu Sriramulu VMC Primary School
landslip at Nimmathota damaged four houses in Brahmananda Reddy Nagar at the Moghalrajpuram foothill
six injured in a landslide at Journalists’ Colony when boulders rolled down from Mogalrajpuram Hills