A 36,000-tonne rock hanging over the Brahmayoni hill near Gaya in Bihar following a landslide after record rains in September was blasted by experts on Sunday.
Experts from the Central Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR) and the Maccaferri Environment Solutions Private Limited Company, an Italy-headquartered company, took part in the operation that cost the government exchequer Rs 80 lakh.
This and other rocks pose a serious threat to life and property of more than 200 families residing at the foothills. More blasts would be carried out over this week to decimate other rocks prone to rolling down the hill after the incessant rains in September.
“Safety of the population living on the hills was our priority. That is why it took some more time to stabilise the hill rocks. The remaining rocks would be blasted after three days as it will take some time to remove the rubbles of the destroyed rock,” Magadh divisional commissioner Lian Kunga said.
The demolition of the rock was carried out in such a manner that splinters during the blast did not damage the residential colonies, which were already protected by wire nets and fencing.
Earlier, the district administration and police evacuated these families by the Shahmir Takiya side and traffic on Gewalbigha-Vishnupad road was stopped as part of the precautionary measures.
The crisis had assumed an alarming proportion and chief minister Nitish Kumar had to rush to Gaya to take stock of the situation. The chief minister also persuaded the residents of the hilltop colony to vacate their houses and assured them all help.
An Army Engineering Corps from Ranchi visited Gaya in September and studied the hill and later submitted its report.
After going through all the study reports, the administration finally took a decision to blast the huge boulders and it took more than two months to end the crisis.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had declared the Brahmayoni hills, in the southern part of Gaya, a protected site for its historical and spiritual significance in 1976 and prohibited any construction on it.