Landslide rattles Altinho neighbourhood, India

Landslide Alert

A minor landslide on Altinho hill slope on Thursday morning has rattled the entire neighbourhood and the vicinity beyond, as the slide occurred after the first few pre-monsoon showers.
 
The authorities have cautioned the occupants of four houses about the unsafe area around their decades-old houses.
 
The side of a steep slope, barely 300m south of Panaji church along the Altinho road, caved in after thunder showers around midnight, triggering an alarm among the nearby residents. The landslip covered an area of 20m at a height of about 15m and the debris barely filled a few trucks, but residents of nearby houses are living in fear, as heavy rains can further dislodge the boulders and loosen soil on the spot.
 
“We heard some noise and came out to find that the hill slope had given way,” Albert Vaz, a resident of the area said.
 
The debris which had spread out on a part of the road leading to Altinho had a few boulders. No immediate damage could be seen to any of the dwellings after the incident. “We live in fear every monsoon, as the slope in the area is weak,” Vaz added.
 
The face of the Altinho hill in this section below the high court of Bombay at Goa and the main PWD office is dotted with many old heritage houses and a few newer constructions, some seemingly precariously perched one above the other. “The collapse has occurred during one of the first pre-monsoon showers and not at the peak of the season,” a worried resident said, fearing more such accidents in the monsoon months.
 
A police team promptly rushed to the spot in the wee hours to inspect the area of the landslip and take stock of the situation.
 
The residents were informed by the police to be cautious after the landslide, as a precautionary measure, though not specifically asked to vacate their houses. Four residential dwellings are in the immediate vicinity of the accident. One of the houses is in a dilapidated condition and looked after by a caretaker.
 
“At this stage, I am not leaving my house,” a resident said.
 
Residents said they had been repeatedly petitioning the town and country planning department, PWD and Corporation of the City of Panaji regarding the rampant activity of hill cutting above their houses. “The excavations carried out above by using heavy machinery may have destabilized the slope,” a resident alleged.
 
A CCP official said a retaining wall of one of the houses above the unstable spot had collapsed last year and the owner had been asked to reconstruct it. The official declined to comment about the excavation activity, which the residents have complained about.

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