A massive landslide that occurred today evening at Umling, about 43 kms from Guwahati on National Highway 40 that connects the Assam capital with Shillong, has brought traffic to a standstill, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded on both sides for several kilometres.
Ri Bhoi district deputy SP (Traffic) Rymphang Pde said the landslide occurred at around 5:45 PM today, with passengers of several vehicles including a couple of small cars having a providential escape from the jaws of death. “It will hopefully take another three to four hours to clear the debris,” the dy SP said, indicating it will be not before midnight that the road would be cleared.
Hafl-a-dozen bulldozers have been pressed into service to clear the landslide on NH40, which is not only the only link between the capital cities of Assam and Meghalaya located 100 kms apart, but also vial lifeline for Tripura, Mizoram and the Barak Valley of southern Assam.
With earth-cutting taking place in a big way owing to widening of the original highway into a four-lane road in the last few years, the Guwahati-Shillong Road, as it is known, has experienced several smaller landslides in the past two weeks. Landslides had killed at least 18 people in Meghalaya in the past fortnight, eight of them including a pregnant woman in the heart of Shillong.