Massive landslips in at least eight places on the Bodi-Munnar Ghat Road in the early hours of Friday snapped road connectivity between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, affecting vehicular traffic.
Giant-sized boulders and heaps of soil slid at eight places, including the 5th, 8th and 11th bends, and near the Rabbit Rock on the Ghat Road owing to torrential showers that lashed Bodi block and Western Ghats throughout the night. There was heavy rain in Kerala since Thursday morning and it continued till Friday morning.
A Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus and a Kerala State transport corporation bus were trapped between 8th and 11th bends. The stranded passengers had to trek about 10 kilometres to reach Bodi.
With a majority of workforce was on leave for Deepavali, the highways officials had to clear the debris and remove boulders with a few workers only. After six hours of operation, they managed to clear the place to enable two wheelers to cross the areas safely.
National Highways Divisional Engineer Rajaiah Ebinezer said clearing operation was in full swing. “We are taking steps for temporary movement of vehicles. We hope to get it done as quickly as possible,” he added.
Residents in Pooparai, Nedunkandam and nearby areas in Idukki district were the worst hit as they had to come to Bodi for purchase of items. Now, they had to travel at least 90 km to come to Bodi through Cumbum Mettu or Kumuli ghat roads. Tamil school students in Munnar too had to travel through this long route to reach Bodi. Business and trade activities were also affected.
A driver of a TNSTC bus said driving on the ghat road was a nightmare as there was no barricade near dangerous curves and deep slopes. “We cannot go to road side as soil was very loose and slippery,” he added.
Widening of the ghat road to seven metres from five metres was under progress at an estimated cost of Rs.20 crore as part of renovation of the Madurai-Kochi National Highway, an official said. The road was opened for traffic recently for Deepavali season.