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Posted at: Feb 7, 2017, 1:28 AM; last updated: Feb 7, 2017, 1:28 AM (IST)

GSI takes foreign help to check landslides

Study in 2 zones

  • GSI scientists said two study zones — Darjeeling-East Sikkim in the Himalayas and the Nilgiris in southern Western Ghats — have beenchosen to develop the assessment and dissemination models which would then be applied to other parts of the country.

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has joined the International Research Collaboration (IRC) for Landslide Risk Reduction in India, an agency that comprises scientists, engineers and social researchers from nine organisations in the United Kingdom, Italy and India.

The agency is working to improve the assessment of landslide risk, early warning systems and preparedness of local communities likely to be affected by landslide hazards in the country — which is expected to help to protect lives, livelihoods and the local economy of vulnerable landslide-prone communities in India, according to a brief prepared by the GSI.

Landslides and avalanches are among the major hydro-geological hazards that affect large parts of the country, particularly the lower Himalayas, the north-eastern hill ranges, the Western Ghats and the Nilgiris, covering about 15 per cent of the landmass. Besides mountainous regions, landslides or mudslides have also occurred in undulated terrain in other parts of the country, causing serious damage. Geological formations, earthquakes, rains as well as human activities such as construction and deforestation are responsible for landslides. Popular tourist and pilgrimage destinations such as Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi and Amarnath have all experienced landslides. The IRC will initially be for four years and will develop enhanced landslide risk assessment and monitoring methods using LANDSLIP, an acronym for landslide multi-hazard assessment, preparedness and early warning in South Asia.

The National Disaster Management Authority has also initiated a National Landslide Risk Mitigation Project and a scheme of establishing a landslide database using GIS is underway. A new Centre of Landslide Research is also being set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Mines.

The British Geological Survey, King’s College, London, Amrita University, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection), Newcastle University, UK Meteorological Office and Practical Action Consulting, UK, are among IRC members. Team members had visited two study zones (see box) a few days ago where they interacted with local stakeholders.

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