A day after cracks were found on the newly built homes in Malin village, geologists urged a detailed study to understand the root cause. Just one heavy downpour, the first this monsoon, in the area on Saturday has exposed not only the quality of construction undertaken in the village but also that the area is highly susceptible to loosening of soil.
It was in July 2014 that heavy rains had triggered a major landslide that killed over 150 villagers and left many homeless.
According to S J Sangode, professor of geology at Savitribai Phule Pune University, who studied the area after the 2014 incident, the soil in that area is typical and attracts moisture quickly. “Also, with the new construction in the area, it seems highly unlikely the soil bed has got settled enough,” said Sangode, who plans to visit the site in the coming days.
A three-member expert panel from the applied sciences division at the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) was present in Malin on Monday. Some members of the team were involved earlier in conducting a detailed survey of the villages and assessing their vulnerability to landslides and mudslides.
According to another expert from CoEP, there is an urgent need for studying the area in depth so that all geological factors are well-documented before more damage takes place. “The area being a Deccan trap, the soil there gets weathered quickly and that is why the tendency of geological submergence or, in simple words, caving-in of land is very common,” he explained.
In addition, the expert advised that the area’s topography be properly mapped for the presence of fissures, cracks and joints, if any, so that engineers can undertake construction accordingly. It was in April this year that rehabilitation was completed and re-built homes were handed to villagers.