Officials said the defect liability period of the net had ended in 2013 and no steps were taken to strengthen it
The landslide that killed two motorists near Adoshi tunnel on the Mumbai-Pune expressway on Sunday is being blamed on a weak net that could not prevent boulders and soil from falling onto the road. It has also come to the fore that the defect liability period of the net had ended in 2013 and proper care was not taken by the authorities to strengthen it.
Minister Eknath Shinde said that a new net with deeper rooting will be installed on the expressway soon to prevent incidents like the one on Sunday from taking place
Sources in the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) said that the net uprooted on Sunday because its nailing, which is only 2 metres deep, failed miserably. The MSRDC now plans to increase the nailing up to 12 metres. A company which works in this field gave a presentation to the minister in-charge Eknath Shinde yesterday.
According to people close to the minister, the defect liability period of the net had ended in 2013, but MSRDC honchos did not think of correcting or strengthening it. The nets were fitted in 2008 and the company which installed them was liable for maintaining it for any defect for a period of five years.
Shinde told mid-day that he was working on a plan to prevent landslides on the expressway. He also confirmed that the new net with deeper rooting will be installed soon. Earlier, making a statement in the Assembly, Shinde said that the experts from two companies, Isofer and Geogroup, were summoned to suggest ways to reinforce the landslide-prone hills on Sunday itself.
“Experts and geologists who have worked on preventing landslides at the Amboli and Malshej ghats accompanied me to the affected site on the Mumbai-Pune Express-way,” he told the House. The same stretch of expressway had been hit by a landslide on June 22 this year, said the minister, adding that he had visited the spot on July 7 to plan for preventive measures.
Shinde announced that the state would bear the cost of treatment of six injured persons whose heads of family lost their lives in Sunday’s accident. Dilipkumar Patel (55) and Shashikant Dhamankar (50) died on the spot, while their injured family members are being treated at Pune’s Lokmanya Tilak Hospital.
Swiss tech to the rescue
Speaking to mid-day, MSRDC Managing Director Anil Diggikar said, “We had a meeting with the MSRDC chairman where all the concerned officials were present. The incident that took place on Sunday is really unfortunate and we don’t want any such incidents to take place in future and so we are planning to take help of the Swiss technology to prevent landslides.”
According to MSRDC officials, the nets used as part of this process can hold a weight of over 1,000 kg and are nailed deeper into the rock layers to enable them to hold back heavy boulders. Such nets have already been used successfully at the Amboli and Malshej ghats.
Lasers are also used to analyse the structure of the rock bed and figure out which boulders may be dangerous and where the nets can be placed. “The Swiss technology that we are going to use has been successfully tried at other locations and so we want to use the same along the expressway,” said Diggikar.
He added that even before a geological survey takes place, the MSRDC will call in a crane than can reach heights of up to 70 metres to remove all the dangerous boulders in the ghat sections of the expressway.
- Ranjeet Jadhav