Hill area residents face threat of landslides

Hill area residents face threat of landslides
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Thousands of residents, who are residing in the hilly areas, are facing the threat of landslides in the city The soil erosion on hillocks is severe due to sudden untimely rains

Visakhapatnam: Thousands of residents, who are residing in the hilly areas, are facing the threat of landslides in the city. The soil erosion on hillocks is severe due to sudden untimely rains.

With many migrants in the city, there are several residential colonies being developed on the hillocks. Some influential local leaders made the activity as business and constructed houses and sold to the needy.

There is a good demand for these houses in Gajuwaka, Pendurty, Malkapuram, Madhavadhara, Simhachalam, Ravindranagar and Hanumanthawaka areas. The EPDCL is also giving power connection to the houses and GVMC is also supplying water to these houses on the hillocks.

The red soil in 21 hillocks spread in Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation limits is not suitable for construction of houses due to its loose soil nature. However, after the development of colonies, the GVMC is constructing staircases and providing drinking water supply connections to these areas. During rainy season, the areas register several casualties due to triggering of landslides.

Earlier, the GVMC has paid its attention to save the hillocks. However due to political pressure, now both the GVMC and Revenue department are not taking any steps to stop the damages to the hillocks.

Earlier, the GVMC identified various spots prone to landslides at Gajuwaka, Marripalem, Madhavadhara, Kancharapalem, Ravindranagar, Hanumathawaka, Gajuwaka and Arilova areas.

Residents on hillocks are facing landslide hazard due to heavy rain caused by the impact of cyclone Phethai. The then Commissioner and present Special Officer of GVMC Pravin Kumar, while visiting a landslide accident, directed the officials to list out all the areas prone to landslide threat.

The officials also suggested the government to construct a concrete wall on the hillocks to stop the further encroachments and save the lives. A senior revenue official said the corporation has planned to vacate some of the residents from the hillocks, which pose landslides threat.

“However, the issue has become very sensitive. If they are forcibly vacated, we have to show them an alternative shelter. There will be local protests and political pressure will also be there," he lamented.

Responding on the issue, GVMC Commissioner M Hari Narayanan said the entire administration is on high alert and monitoring all the hill areas. "As of now, there is no such alerts. However, officials have been directed to keep vigil on landslide prone areas. We will relocate the people on hill areas to safe shelters with the help of revenue department if required," Hari Narayanan told The Hans India.

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