Blaming the increase on the landslide incidents on human interference, overexploitation of natural resources and rampant deforestation, Head of the Department of Resilient Infrastructure division of National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) Chandan Ghosh has said that landslides can be prevented completely if certain techniques are used and the law of natureis respected.
Prof. Ghosh who was in the city to participate in a training programme organised by the Civil Engineering Department of Andhra University and NIDM, said that the landslides had become a common phenomenon in the Himalayan States and other hilly regions of late and rampant construction activities such as laying roads along the hills lopes were triggering the phenomenon. “The man-made landslides are occurring more than the ones triggered by natural causes. Not much expertise is available to prevent such incidents and the available technologies are also not being used,” he pointed out.
Referring to the rampant construction activities in the Uttarakhand hills, he said the slopes are vertically cut and forest are devastated. “Nature catches us on the wrong foot for contractor-driven time-bound approach with unscrupulous mindset at work,” he said.
Citing the example of Japan where 80 % of the trains move with a speed of 300 km along the hill slope tracks, he said 20 km is the speed limit on roads in hilly areas in India.
“Landslides are 100 % preventable if the procedures prescribed are duly followed. Landslides are caused by rain and lack of drainage. Rain enters the exposed cut slopes and gets into the body of the hills and comes down with a chunk of hills as there is no drainage.” Mr. Ghosh explained. To solve it, he said, credible procedures have been prescribed to channelise drainage in the hilly areas. “Though the know-how are available, we are out of sync as time-bound targets take over. The government agencies award the works and the executing agency go ahead, not paying heed to the geology and natural profile of hills,” Mr. Ghosh, a civil engineer specialising in landslide prevention, said.
The contractors are often in a hurry to complete projects, neglecting in hiring specialised agencies owing to expenditure.
Giving details about the technologies that can prevent landslides, he said planting Vetiver species with deep roots, using geo-synthetics and erecting retaining walls are to name a few. “The need to study the nature of the landslide, geological map in details before devising the diagnostic plans,” MR. Ghosh added.