MSRDC on alert in landslide-prone  areas of Mumbai-Pune Expressway

Mumbai : After heavy rainfall lashed Pune and Lonavala on Friday, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) teams are exercising caution in the landslide-prone region of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. While there is no mechanism to predict a landslide, the officials are taking necessary precautions.

After a series of landslides in the month of July, MSRDC had carried out various measures such as removal of loose rocks from the ghat sections of the Expressway, rock-bolting or anchoring blocks which bolt smaller rocks to a main rock preventing them from breaking away and falling.

After the rain during the weekend, one lane has been closed in the ghat section, said MSRDC officials. According to officials, the engineers are also inspecting loose rocks. Confirming the ongoing task, MSRDC managing director Radheshyam Mopalwar said: “The teams are in the region. Precaution is always good in such cases.”

Last month, the Geological Survey of India submitted its report on the causes and measures to be adopted to avoid landslides on the Expressway. Water percolation and rock fracturing were identified as key reasons for the landslides that occurred on the Expressway.

“So far, we do not have technology that can predict earthquakes and landslides. But on the Expressway, we have found that water percolation in the cracks of rocks affects their cohesiveness causing landslides. So the best we can do is take necessary precautions,” said Dr Sekhar Sarkar, Deputy Director General of GSI (landslide), Nagpur division.

According to Dr Sarkar, the surface water management on the hilltops that would ensure rainwater does not percolate into cracks needs to be addressed immediately.

Meanwhile, the MSRDC has received bids for the long-term anti-landslide work to be carried out on the Expressway. “We have called a board meeting on September 23, where a decision will be reached on awarding the contract,” said Mopalwar.

He refused to comment on the number of companies that expressed interest and also refused to name the company likely to be awarded the work. The bid, which will be awarded on September 24, is worth Rs 36 crore.

swapnil rawal

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