Huge cracks emerge in Chapora Fort hill slope

PANAJI: A 380-metre long controversial road built by the public works department (PWD) at the iconic Chapora fort has turned into a water conduit during monsoon, and channelizing the runoffs into houses below the hill.

The hill, which has a steep gradient had been cut into heavily, to lay the road from an area near the foot of the hill to an upper section, a few metres short of the heritage monument.

A hotel nearby had also excavated into the hillside and constructed a helipad, a rain water harvesting tank and other illegal structures.

The construction of the road in the soft laterite soil has affected stability and erosion after heavy rainfall is triggering further collapse of the excavated portions.

“Landslides are frequent due to the destabilization of the hill slope. Channels have been formed on either side of the road due to water runoffs from the top of the hill, and the slurry (semi-liquid mix) is flowing down the hill,” Sagardeep Sirsaikar, a resident of Anjuna said.

PWD had built the road at the request of the directorate of archives and archaeology (DAA) to help carry building material for the restoration of the fort.

Sirsaikar had then complained to the Goa coastal zone management authority (GCZMA), alleging that the illegal hill cutting and the road construction near the fort was in blatant violation of Coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification 2011 and its rules.

“With so much digging in the fragile section of the hill, the heavy rainfall has caused more damage,” Sirsaikar said. “The water would flow towards my house during the rainy season, but it is now entering my balcony,” Joe D’Souza, a resident from Vagator, said, whose house is nearest to the fort while five other houses have also been affected.

“Streams of rainwater flow from the excavated hill around our houses, to the nullah below,” Felix D’Souza, another resident from Vagator said.

Sources close to water resources minister and local MLA, Vinod Palienkar said that he has inspected the area and directed the authorities to carry out remedial measures. “The digging activity has created a mess here,” D’Souza said.

SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA