Morung Express News
Viswema | July 17
As Nagaland State’s politicians continued to squabble over chairs of power, another major landslide hit Viswema on July 16, compounding the suffering of people in the area and commuters on the always busy NH-29.
Following the recent landslide at Viswema, students from seven schools and two colleges in the Southern Angami region as well as commuters and travelers from Manipur have been severely affected. They had to commute through the steep path covered with wet slithery mud on the hill, which adds 20 treacherous minutes to their journey.
There are four Government Primary schools, one Government Middle School, the Baptist English School, Pfutsana School and John Higher Secondary School in Viswema and Sweba – a new settlement under Viswema village, where the landslide has divided Viswema and Sweba. Further, students of Japfü Christian College and St. Joseph’s College residing in Viswema, Khuzama and Mao Gate have also been affected. The Southern Angami Students’ Union (SASU) has arranged two buses for the students to commute.
On July 17, the BRO placed five machineries for the earth cutting. Er. Visakho Kiso informed that the BRO plans to complete the earth cutting for a new path by July 20. He however admitted: “Looking at the condition of the area, it is less likely to happen. The earth cutting which was done yesterday was washed off, so they have begun afresh again.” The landslide as of July 17 has affected almost 150 meters (height) and 200 meters (length) area of the Highway.
Adding to the difficulty in commuting is the sliding of the temporary paths, where every day volunteers have to explore new makeshift paths for the commuters and students. “We have to keep finding another route for the commuters. Due to the soil instability, we are looking for newer paths. The cracked areas in the Highway are sinking down and the land on the uphill is also collapsing,” stated Kiso, who informed that the Viswema village volunteers have been working tirelessly by assisting the commuters from 5:00am till 10:00pm at night.
The Kohima Deputy Commissioner, PWD officials and other departments are also said to have visited the affected site on July 17 morning and assured to provide their assistance.
With the NEC Viswema-Zuketsa road being blocked by the landslide, the village leaders have also requested the concerned department to take necessary action. “Unless the Highway is cleared, the State NEC route will continue to be affected,” added Kiso.
“The power line connected to Manipur is likely to be affected since the trees which fell down in the landslide touches the power lines,” he added.
As usual more than 2000 travelers from Manipur have been commuting in the affected area from morning till afternoon, however the villagers informed that the number of commuters increases in the evening.
It may be mentioned that the Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority has contributed Rs 10,000 and tarpaulin as relief fund for now.
Information to commuters from Manipur
Viswema village has informed travelers to carry light luggage since the temporary paths are not convenient for large carriers in the steep path. “We also advise the travelers and commuters not to travel after 8 pm as it is dangerous. Most works cease after 8 pm and the landslide occurs mostly at night,” village officials informed.
The Southern Angami Youth Organisation (SAYO) has meanwhile reminded travelers and taxis that the fares will remain the same. If the driver charges more, the passengers have been asked to inform the SAYO volunteers, informed Viraseto Neikha, General Secretary, SAYO. The taxi fare from Kohima to Viswema costs Rs. 50, while the fare from Viswema to Khuzama is slated at Rs. 20.
The Kigwema Youth Organization (KYO) has also notified that the road between Kigwema to Chakabama highway has been badly affected due to mud sliding & sinking below Kigwema village. A press note from the KYO said that the road has been partially restored only for light vehicles and informed that no heavy vehicles will be allowed till the road is stabilized.