This local historical site and also a popular one with trekkers and trailing enthusiasts is all set to be closed for a good number of weeks.
Yes, we’re talking about the Sinhagad Fort.
An eight-day closure of the road was ordered by the district collector Saurabh Rao about a month ago. Rao, who is also the district disaster management authority said that this was done in order to take up the road repair works, after they were ruined by the landslides this year. The ghat section faced many landslides due to the heavy rainfalls recently. The roads have not yet been reworked on even after the eight-day stipulation. It has now been revealed that there is little chance of the roads reopening throughout this entire season. Riding up the mountain shall now be possible only after monsoon ends.
The public works department (PWD) is waiting for the reports of the survey undertaken by the expert geologists of IIT-Bombay, which has been long due. The forest department had no other option but to approach a private agency, Maccaferri Environmental Solutions to submit the ocular observation report, emergently.
According to information provided by Maccaferri, there are no less than 10 major danger spots on the Sinhagad stretch of 9.2 kms. The stretch thus needs immediate repair works. Maccaferri is currently also involved in the mending the landslide-prone areas of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Rangnath Naikade, Deputy Conservator of Forests, confirmed the news. “On Thursday, we met with Maccaferri representatives, who suggested a couple of different methods of repair for the landslide-prone spots, which they located according to a survey. Accordingly, we are going to write to the district collector to complete further formalities in this regard,” he said.
He further added, “Agency experts also pointed out that compared to the E-way, the strata of this ghat section is loose and will need more time as well as specialised techniques to tackle. The agency’s ocular observation report says that the current rainy season is further intensifying the threat in this area — surveyors also clicked extensive images of dislocated boulders, the removal and shifting to safe zones of which is a time-consuming process. Estimated costs right now are over Rs 100 crore for a permanent solution. Considering all this, we are not likely to open the road for the whole monsoon.”
An anonymous source from the agency asserted the difficulties they’re facing. “Work here will require specific machinery to cater to the difficult and curvy ghat area, as well as more effort. The rocks along this road are not very solid, creating further problems for repair work. After a green light from the authorities, we will start work,” said the source.
"The long due reports from the IIT-B experts are “on the way” and we’re pretty sure they’d arrive once the roads have been completed." PWD superintendent engineer for Pune, Rajendra Rahane, said, “We have not yet received this report but we have conveyed to the state government and the district administration to start repair work on a war-footing on this stretch. We are also co-operating with the forest department to facilitate the same. There is no issue of funding as we have already made provisions for it. Any more requirements will be addressed with the state.”
The road block has left the hikers, bikers and the trekkers disappointed.
Sachin Palande, a trekker of the city-based Jaanata Raja Group, said, “We are very disappointed by how the authorities have dealt with this situation. We will be losing a crucial trekking season at Sinhagad, and apart from trekkers there, there are so many tourists and history enthusiasts who will also stay unhappy thanks to this delay. Repair work could have been done before the monsoon as well. But this lax attitude has made the situation grave.”
Well, we can only hope for the situation to get better and not turn into just another file in the PWD department.
Information source: punemirror