Technical Committee of Institution of Engineers comes up with feasible recommendations
Mysore/Mysuru: The Technical Committee of the Institution of Engineers (India), Mysuru Local Centre, constituted to assess the damages to the Chamundi Hill road linking the View Point and the Nandi Statue has recommended to the District Administration to abandon the road for vehicular traffic since alternative motorable access to Nandi Statue is available.
Instead, the damaged 1.4-km road could be converted as a trekking path with a good view of Mysuru City, at a minimal cost instead of spending a fortune on restoring the damaged portion.
Submitting its recommendations to Mysuru Deputy Commissioner Dr. Bagadi Gautham at his office this morning, the Committee members felt that the trekking path would be a viable option for walkers in addition to the existing walking route through the steps.
The Technical Committee comprising Dr. S.G. Vombatkere (Major General Retd.), M. Lakshmana, B.S. Prabhakara, H.S. Suresh Babu, H. Kishore Chandra and M.K. Nanjaiah visited Chamundi Hill on Nov.19 along with PWD officials, studied the extent of damage and has come up with scientific and feasible recommendations.
Observing the collapsed and vulnerable sectors of the road, the Committee felt that a rough estimate to repair the damages would be Rs. 30 crore and even if the stretch is repaired, it may not be possible to predict the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events in the future.
As per the reports from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for peninsular India, even mild seismic tremors will aggravate instability of hill slopes, which are already weakened by saturation and erosion. Thus, it may be difficult to assure normal life of the restored linking road, even assuming regular preventive maintenance, the Committee said.
Two options suggested
The first option suggested by the Technical Committee is to repair the linking road with an estimated cost of Rs. 30 crore. However, in view of the increasing threat of climate change related extreme events causing saturation and erosion, there may be little guarantee of its continuing to provide safe motorable roads. This road may require heavy and repeated expenditures for maintenance and repairs, the Committee said.
The second option is to abandon the linking road for vehicular traffic since alternative motorable access to Nandi Statue is available, in addition to the traditional access through steps. The money saved can be used to improve and strengthen the main road. The damaged road can be converted as a trekking path (minimal expenditure) with a good view of Mysuru City.
Forecast of extreme events: If the second option is opted for, funds can be used to protect the hill slopes by tree plantation and by constructing strengthening structures. The IPCC has warned of extreme events due to climate change. Such extreme events include long spells of unusual wet weather and very heavy rainfall in relatively short periods of time, the Committee noted.
These events inevitably lead to disasters of varying severity depending upon factors like intensity of the event, geographical spread, topography, human interference with the environment (extent and type of built-up area, engineering structures, etc.) and population density and distribution.
Apart from converting the road into a trekking path, the Government can take a decision for slope protection to preserve and protect the environment of Chamundi Hill, which is a heritage precinct, the Committee said.