Saturday, January 26, 2008

Decades of neglect..and the wages of sin







Chibo bustee, Kalimpong, Darjeeling district is a place about which I have written earlier (refer blog of 04Oct2007) but ask any geologist or layman about Chibo and the answer is the same:- it is an old ("purano"in Nepali) sinking area.
Only, some geologists who visited the area decades ago throw their hands up in dismay since none of their recommendations made years ago has been implemented and the situation has only gone from bad to worse.
The unfortunate part in all this is that, the village comprises of approx 5000 people living in 1200 houses or so which are spread over a large farming area and as the photographic evidence (of Jan2008) shows much of the area is doomed UNLESS comprehensive landslide prevention measures are taken urgently.
Three large mountain rivulets (jhoras or kholas in this case) and a large number small tributaries plough thru the Chibo/Pashyor area.
The biggest and most destructive is Magar khola/jhora (labelled 'C' in slide 1). The damage done by this jhora is immense and threatens the entire Pashyor region. When I visited Pashyor (refer blog of 23Oct2007) in Oct07, large parts of this area showed signs of imminent destruction.
The other two big jhoras which ravage Chibo are Chibo School khola (labelled 'B' in slide 1) and Paireni khola (labelled 'A' but which unfortunately cannot be seen in the photograph).
Chibo school khola and its tributaries, after chewing up a large section of middle Chibo ends up at Chitrey where it has severely damaged National Highway 31(NH31) and the Teesta - Kalimpong road (just before joining the Teesta river as a tributary.)
Suffice it to say that NOTHING has been done by way of preventive work against landslides in this whole area for decades and what this entire area faces is nothing short of extinction in the foreseeable future.
What could have been achieved by timely intervention will now require a huge injection of funds and a comprehensive approach which will look at the drainage problem, afforestation, farming methods and land usage, impact of human settlements on the land and so on...
Slide 2 shows a close up of Magar jhora/khola and the destruction it has caused; slide 3 shows the situation at Chitrey where the Chibo school jhora has severly breached part of NH31 and also threatens the road from Teesta to Kalimpong.

praful rao





1 comment:

Chhandita said...

hi,

The more i read abt the landslides in Kalimpong area the more I want something to be done. AS I am editing the article done by Benita, I will need information (like the one i asked for earlier). If its not a problem, I would like to take some content from savethehills.com for the article (some box items).