Highway Collapse Crisis: Deforestation Threatens Meghalaya's Vital Road Link

News Reporter News Reporter
Monday, October 09, 2023
Highway Collapse Crisis: Deforestation Threatens Meghalaya's Vital Road Link
Soil Erosion Threatens Vital Highway Link Due to Deforestation
Tura, Meghalaya - October 09, 2023: A significant section of the national highway connecting Tura with Dalu suffered a dramatic collapse at the Jenggitchakgre area on Monday morning, October 9. Authorities have pinpointed soil erosion resulting from rampant deforestation as the primary cause behind this alarming incident.

It is a story of environmental imbalance with far-reaching consequences. Local residents have relentlessly cut down trees in the pursuit of jhum cultivation, a traditional farming practice in the region. These trees had previously played a vital role in retaining soil stability. With the loss of these natural protectors, heavy rains have been washing away the precious topsoil.

Regrettably, officials find themselves facing a complex challenge. The land where this deforestation is taking place is under the jurisdiction of Nokmas, traditional village leaders who allocate land for jhum cultivation among villagers. As such, authorities have been unable to halt the deforestation, exacerbating the erosion problem.

The crisis extends beyond the Jenggitchakgre area. The entire highway stretch, spanning from Jenggitchakgre to Kherapara, has now been categorized as a sinking zone due to the twin threats of deforestation and deteriorating soil structure.

To combat this alarming situation, experts are contemplating innovative solutions. A senior Public Works Department (PWD) official from Garo Hills, who has previous experience dealing with similar issues, explained, "A downhill side protection will not be effective because it is a high slope. We will need a lot of protection or use a blanket cover of geotextile to promote vegetation growth."

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the delicate balance between human activities and environmental sustainability. It underscores the urgent need for responsible land management practices and collaborative efforts to safeguard vital infrastructure and our natural surroundings.

As the authorities grapple with this challenging situation, the community's awareness of the consequences of deforestation and soil erosion is more crucial than ever. Finding a sustainable solution will require the cooperation of all stakeholders to protect this critical highway link and the ecological integrity of the region.