Proposal to plant bamboo along Gap Road stretch to prevent landslips

Assembly Committee of Environment directed dept. & NHAI to consider proposal. Bamboo & creeper will penetrate 4-5ft deep into soil & prevent future landslips. NHAI to conduct study & take further steps.

October 17, 2023 06:39 pm | Updated 07:55 pm IST - IDUKKI

A view of the Gap Road stretch of Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway, near Munnar, in Idukki.

A view of the Gap Road stretch of Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway, near Munnar, in Idukki. | Photo Credit: JOMON PAMPAVALLEY

The Forest department is planning to plant bamboo and bamboo creeper along the Gap Road stretch of the Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway in Munnar to prevent repeated landslips. The Assembly Committee on Environment has directed the department and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to consider the proposal.

According to officials, the recommendation was submitted by Green Care Kerala’s Idukki district general secretary K. Bulbendran.

Mr. Bulbenrdan said that the committee welcomed the recommendation and its chairman directed various department heads to consider possibilities of implementing the project.

‘’Due to the unscientific road widening works on Gap Road stretch, the rocks in the hills are in a shaken state and there are chances of future landslips,“ said Mr. Bulbendran.

“Bamboo and creeper bamboo will penetrate four to five feet deep into the soil and will ensure strong protection to the soil. It will also prevent future landslips in the area. A detailed proposal will be submitted soon. The project can be implemented in association with the Forest department, Social Forestry wing of the department, Kerala State Biodiversity Board and the NHAI,“ said Mr Bulbendran.

Food security for elephants

Munnar Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) Job J. Neriamparambil said the Forest department plans to implement the project in the area. “If bamboo and reed bamboo are planted, it will ensure food security for wild elephants in the area,” said Mr. Neriamparambil.

NHAI assistant executive engineer Rex Felix said, “NHAI will conduct a scientific study over the recommendations and take further steps.”

Concern raised

Meanwhile, Hindu Aikya Vedi Udumbanchola Taluk committee said that planting bamboos will attract wild elephants and pose a threat to passengers. The committee recommended that planting vetiver should prevent landslips and will not attract wild elephants.  

There were widespread allegations that the unscientific road works triggered the landslips. Rocks were blasted simultaneously at various spots, which shook sensitive layers of rocks, causing the landslips. The stretch witnessed nearly a dozen major and minor landslips within the past 2-3 years.

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