KOCHI: The estate lanes at Pettimudi, which were swept away by a massive landslide on August 6, were not located in any of the hazard zones listed on the landslide susceptibility maps prepared by the National Centre for Earth Science Studies, the government said in an additional statement submitted before the Kerala High Court.
Pettimudi is located deep inside the hills and a tea estate. From available information, the land started giving away from a degraded forest area upstream of the tea estate following which the mass of earth came rolling down over 2 kms mobilizing momentum and material due to vertical and lateral scouring. Even in normal times, such remote hilly areas do not have civilian communication systems such as mobile phones to inform the authorities.
The nearest BSNL optical fibre line ends almost 30 kms away from the site, the report said.Though Fire and Rescue Services and Police were moved to the site from Munnar, their movement was hampered as the Periyavara bridge was washed away and hence had to take a circuitous route to the site. It was local first responders from the nearby villages who rushed to the spot and launched rescue operation.