3 landslides and two-and-a-half years later… Chamundi Hill retaining wall still INCOMPLETE
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3 landslides and two-and-a-half years later… Chamundi Hill retaining wall still INCOMPLETE

March 5, 2024
  • PWD officials say three more months needed
  • Major work to clear huge boulders to build drains

Mysore/Mysuru: Nearly two-and-a-half years after the first major landslide occurred atop the Chamundi Hill between View Point and Nandi Statue Road in October 2021, the retaining wall to prevent further damage is still incomplete. Consequently, the 400-metre road has remained closed to traffic since then.

As of now, only 70 percent of the planned 50-ft retaining wall (after digging a 30-ft trench) has been constructed from ground level of the landslide spot.

Public Works Department (PWD) Executive Engineer Raju has indicated that an additional three months are required to finish the construction works. However, if the project remains unfinished until the end of May, the onset of the monsoon season in June-July is likely to cause further delays. The stretch of Chamundi Hill between View Point and Nandi Statue has experienced four landslips since 2019.

The first major landslide took place on Oct. 20, 2021, near the location where a minor landslip had occurred in 2019. Following this, on Oct. 31, 2021, the road saw a significant reduction, with 80% of it affected in the second landslide. Another landslide occurred on Nov. 4, 2021, just 10 metres away from the area affected by the Oct. 20 landslide.

More works in pipeline

The State Government allocated Rs. 9.75 crore for the restoration works and the actual efforts commenced in the first week of August 2022, coinciding with a break in the rainy season.

In fact, the construction of the retaining wall has been initiated only at one of the three locations where landslips have occurred. Upon the completion of this particular retaining wall, the PWD will need to undertake the construction of two additional retaining walls at the remaining landslide sites. This undertaking will necessitate additional funds beyond the initial allocation.

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Star of Mysore visited the site this morning to assess the progress of the works. Surprisingly, only five to six workers were observed undertaking the task. Given the slow pace observed, there are doubts about the feasibility of completing the retaining wall within the stipulated three-month time-frame.

Boulder drilling works

Large machines have been transported to the work site to commence drilling through numerous massive boulders beneath the topsoil. Additionally, generators have been brought in to provide power supply for the operations. Despite the preparations, the drilling works are yet to commence. Once initiated, the drilling process will clear a path for rainwater drains from the hilltop, facilitating effective drainage and mitigating potential landslide risks.

“We have asked the contractor to depute more people to the task and even his payment has been released. Ramanjaneyalu, the contractor who undertook the Hinkal flyover works, is executing this project too,” Raju said. The retaining wall has been fixed to the rocks (with tension-resisting steel rods) so that it will stay put even in adverse conditions and heavy rains.

“Even when the rainwater flows, from the top in many directions, the retaining wall will be stable as separate rain outlets have been created by the side of the wall for the water to flow. There is no chance of rainwater weakening the soil. We have taken suggestions of scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bengaluru, who have submitted a detailed report on the landslides after soil testing and other studies and Geo Trail Technology — the methodology of constructing the retaining wall,” Raju added.

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