Three boulders on hillock to be blasted

Decision follows Collector’s inspection with team of experts from Mines Dept.

Three huge boulders, including the one that took two lives on last Sunday, on the foothills of Kagithapattarai, off the Bengaluru Highway (NH 48), in Vellore, will be blasted using dynamite by the Mines Department soon.

The decision to blast the select boulders in the hillock comes after a site inspection by Collector P. Kumaravel Pandian, with a team of experts from the Mines Department in the district administration on Monday, the day after a mother and her daughter died when a boulder rolled down the hillock onto the houses on the foothills on Sunday.

Subsequently, the mines experts have identified three boulders that need to be removed immediately due to weak hold on the soil. These identified boulders are located one above the other on the foothills in Kagithapattarai.

“We are ready to extend our support in removing the boulders from the hillock as it involves public safety. We will work closely with the district administration on the issue,” Prince Kumar, District Forest Officer, Vellore, told The Hindu.

The hillock falls under the limits of the Forest Department with the land on its foothills belonging to the Revenue Department. Over the years, the foothills have become thickly populated with more than 2,000 structures, mainly houses. Most of these pucca houses, especially those above the foothills, are encroachments.

Census

Sunday’s incident has forced the district administration to conduct a census of the number of houses between Kagithapattarai and Saidapet, a distance of around two km. Officials said that people residing in these houses on the foothills, especially around the three boulders, will be relocated before the boulders are blasted.

Meanwhile, Ranipet, Vellore, Tirupattur and Tiruvannamalai districts witnessed continuous rain on Wednesday with excess rainwater in the Palar river breaching low-level bridges in Ambur.

Due to increased inflow, 2,797 cusecs of water has been discharged from Mordhana reservoir in Vellore as of 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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