The road-widening works of the Gap Road stretch of the Kochi-Dhanushkodi national highway is expected to resume next week, with the contractor agreeing to the compensation amount demanded by farmers who suffered heavy damage in the landslips triggered by the blasting of rocks as part of the work.
Vast areas of cardamom cultivation, owned by 30 farmers, on the lower side of the Gap Road stretch were destroyed in the two landslips on June 17 and August 6. The earlier compensation offered by the contractor was not acceptable to the farmers.
District Collector H. Dinesan said the contractor would provide the compensation amount after the survey of the affected land. A survey team would be deputed soon, he added.
₹8 lakh for an acre
Kunnel Baby, an affected farmer, that the contractor had given an undertaking to pay them ₹8 lakh for an acre of land as compensation. The first instalment, 25% of the amount, would be given by next week, he added.
An official of the National Highway Authority of India said the road-widening works would be resumed next week and a retaining wall would be constructed.
In the landslip on June 17, about 200 metres of the road got washed away. As many as 20 landslips were reported in the area after the road widening works were launched. It was alleged that rocks were blasted simultaneously at different spots, triggering landslips.
Earlier, a report by the Devikulam Subcollector said that unscientific road construction had led to the landslips and recommended an expert team from IIT, Kozhikode, to survey the area. The team recommended resumption of the road widening works after ensuring safety aspects, including the construction of a retaining wall.
Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran sent a letter to the District Collector last week stating that the contractor was liable to pay a decent compensation to the farmers who had suffered heavily in the landslips. The ₹268.2-crore road-widening work of the Munnar-Bodimettu stretch was launched in 2017.