Two landlsides were reported within a span of 12 hours on Wednesday at the Lavasa Lake City, leading to closure of the approach route for few hours till Thursday afternoon. More than 200 tourists were stuck inside Lavasa for hours because of the road closure, before they were taken out using an alternate route.
As per the information given by Paud police, the first landslide took place near Ekaant Resort on Wednesday around 9 am, while the second one took place around 9 pm, a few hundred metres away from the first spot.
The Lavasa authorities, in a reply to a query from the Pune Newsline, had said on Wednesday that the road was cleared for traffic after the landslide on Wednesday. However, Inspector Vishwambhar Golde of Paud police station said, “The road remained closed after the first landslide, near Ekaant Resort, on Wednesday. Another landslide occurred in the night. The work to remove the debris was on till Thursday evening.”
Inspector Golde added, “The tourists who were stranded in hotels were taken out from an alternate route via Panshet while some preferred to walk up the road for some distance and boarded tourist vehicles from the other side of the landslide spot.”
Lavasa, a private planned city, being built by the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), has faced allegations of violations of environment protection norms and land acquisition rules. The environment activists have been issuing landslide warnings in the area.
Lavasa spokesperson said in an email statement on Thursday, “Lavasa and adjoining areas have witnessed heavy rains over the last fortnight. This has led to minor landslides on roads leading to the hill city. However, there is no damage to life or property. The road blocks are being cleared by Lavasa’s Emergency Response Team. Lavasa Corporation maintains a properly-equipped Emergency Response Team and can resolve issues immediately.”
Environmentalist Dr Vishwambhar Choudhari said that two years back, Medha Patkar had raised concerns about Malin-like landslides at Lavasa. “The soil has been loosened due to construction activities and usage of heavy machines. The landslide is a result of the same,” he said. Alluding to a work by author Dr UR Ananthamurthy, Choudhari said this was the sign of the “earth having spoken” in Lavasa.