Daringbadi: Transport links between Daringbadi and Berhampur were completely cut due to a major landslide at Gajalbadi Ghat on National Highway-59 under Sorada forest limits in Ganjam district due to heavy rains Saturday. The place is around 15 km from here in Kandhamal district.
The heavy rains triggered by cyclonic storm Titli resulted in boulders and soil rolling down the hills and burying the highway for around 15 km.
The water rolling down the hills washed away the highway at many places. However, no casualties were reported. The landslide also destroyed vegetation in the area.
This is the first time the highway has been damaged so extensively. The highway is considered the lifeline linking Daringbadi to Berhampur.
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials rushed to the spot and launched operations to clear the highway with earthmoving equipment.
Jaydev Dey, a junior engineer of NHAI’s Baliguda section, said debris lying scattered on the route for over 15 km is a common sight.
The NHAI is finding it difficult to clear the debris as earthmovers cannot be moved to the spot from Ganjam side because a bridge at Bhutapankal in Gajalbadi has been washed away, NHAI official Brundaban Behera said.
NHAI officials think it may take a long time to clear the debris and make the highway operational.
It has become impossible to travel on the highway with large trees, soil and boulders lying in the middle of the carriageway at many places.
The debris has a height of around 15-20 feet at many spots on the highway. NHAI sources said the highway has been damaged to such an extent that it is impossible to predict when transport links can be restored.
The landslide has also damaged farmlands in the low lying areas of Danekbadi, Makapata, Tepari and Hatimunda panchayats of Daringbadi block and in Indragad, Badagad panchayats of Raikia block as tonnes of soil from the hills came down.
The kin of patients needing emergency medical care have to spend a lot to take the alternative route to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur.
Kailash Dandapata, secretary of voluntary organisation Jagruti, has demanded that the district administrations of Ganjam and Kandhamal must provide assistance to the people who want to visit MKCG Medical College and Hospital.