First time in Tamilnadu… Rolling Barriers installed in Nilgiris
oi-Oneindia English Desk
Published: Friday, March 17, 2023, 18:12 [IST]
Nilgiris: Ooty is the famous hill station of the Nilgiris district in Tamilnadu. The Queen of Hills is a hotspot summer destination for tourists. As summer is approaching, Ooty is getting ready to welcome tourists from all over the world. For this peak season, the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu ordered the officials to take precautionary measures around Ooty. One such measure aided Ooty to become an accident-free destination.
As per data, 35 lakh people are visiting Ooty every year on average. The main source of income for the Nilgiris district is Tourism alone. And very many local residents of Ooty are relying on tourism for their own income. But, during peak season, tourists visiting Ooty are more in numbers. Yet many of them aren’t following any proper road rules while driving on hilly terrains.
Due to carelessness, the number of accidents is more during summer holidays. To be more precise, Kalhatti Ghat road in Ooty is highly dangerous. As this particular region is very steep it is prone to regular accidents. Out of 36 hairpin bends on the 30-km road, eight hairpin bends are considered very dangerous for vehicles travelling downhill especially.
The Tamilnadu government wanted to find a solution to avoid all those accidents. Under the guidance of CM Stalin, the public works department implemented a major change to this mountainous terrain. For the first time in Tamilnadu, Roller crash barrier technology from Japan was installed along the hill road to make it safe. These barriers are proven to avoid fatal accidents by 90% scientifically.
Minister K. Ramachandran says, “During the rainy season, landslides are unavoidable in this particular region. If the government plans to construct wall barriers, it would take a heavy toll on the Government’s treasury. So, the state government was in search of a cost-effective way. And we found this “hydro seeding’ technology to avoid soil erosion and landslides. On a trial basis, we invited Engineers from Delhi to implement the technology. With the help of this technology, we used the ‘soil nailing technique’ to stabilize slopes and prevent soil erosion by establishing sustainable vegetation over the slopes by way of hydro-seeding.
It will also help to give slopes an environmentally-friendly appearance. The geogrid to be installed in the process would stabilize the soil. This technology was implemented under the Public works department and it is highly beneficial for the safety of people living around the hill regions”.
Nilgiris’ resident Raghu shared, “Heavy rainfall happens between June- November in Nilgiris. Landslides are common during this particular season. Last year we faced landslides nearly four times. Landslides also cause road accidents. Last year the government implemented some new techniques by nailing the soil and growing grasses. It also looks greenish on the slides. Whenever there is a landslide along the hill, the residents will suffer more. This time, during the rainy season we didn’t suffer from landslides”.
District Collector Amrit says, “Nilgiris receive more rain from both Southwest monsoon and Northeast monsoon seasons. And it was common to face landslides during the rains. The impact of a landslide can be extensive, including loss of life, destruction of infrastructure, damage to roads, traffic jams and loss of natural resources.
Landslide material can also increase the risk of floods. To avoid that, the government implemented the soil nailing technique. SO last rainy season we avoided landslides completely in that particular region. In the same way, the government installed rolling crash barriers along Kalhatti Ghat Road in Ooty. the Government is planning to extend this technique through the terrain”.
Jobi Antony shares, “I am an ambulance driver who is a regular on this particular kalhatti road. Not only during the rainy season, but I am also always fearful of driving along this mountainous terrain. This is such a dangerous path to Ooty. Earlier, many media houses used to address this terrain as the ‘Ghost road’ in news. Because due to a lack of proper driving knowledge, many accidents happened along this road. It is safe to drive any vehicle in the first or second gear speed alone. Drivers should avoid using the brakes frequently. Many do not know how to drive along this hill”.
To save people from accidents the Government has been running free ambulance services for the past decade. Driver Jobi Antony has been in service along this particular road since 2010. He used to face so many accidents in his earlier days. But he says that accidents along this road are rare nowadays.
Minister E.V. Velu implemented the plan of government to construct modern barriers along this hill road. Motorists taking this route are feeling safe nowadays.
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Story first published: Friday, March 17, 2023, 18:12 [IST]