Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Landslide awareness workshop with North Bengal University students

Landslide awareness workshop by savethehills (STH) with Post Graduate Diploma (Disaster Management) students from the Centre for Development Studies, University of North Bengal.

9 Students (inclusive of 3 girls) and the technical officer Dr Sanjay Rana (PhD) of North Bengal University were in Kalimpong on the 28/29Jan2008 as a part of a field visit during the diploma course.

On 28 Jan, the day was largely spent at Alaichikhop and Chota Bhalukhop, where the students were shown the damage caused by the Sep2007 rains in these areas. They interacted with the people of affected areas, took photographs and made notes. Possible causes of the slides were discussed with both the people of the areas and STH and the possible long and short term solutions were considered.

Later in the evening, Wg Cdr Praful Rao (retd) of STH gave a presentation on “The Silent Disaster” ie the landslide devastation of Sep2007. The other resource persons who spoke during the course of the evening were, Mr Bharat Mani Pradhan, Member STH, Dr Kishore Thapa (PhD) environmental activist, Mr Bishnu Chhetri, Secretary Farmer’s Club and Member STH and Dr Sanjay Rana.

On 29Jan2008, the whole team visited many landslide affected areas in the vicinity of Kalimpong town between 0830 to approx 1230hrs. At all places the students interacted with locals and asked them whether the government had started any preventive work.

On the whole what was clearly evident was the total absence of any type of landslide prevention work in all the areas visited.

The landslide awareness workshop ended at 1300hrs with the students volunteering to be a part of STH (which was more than welcome) and saying they would spread awareness at the University level and also contribute articles when possible.

This is the third such workshop held by STH - the earlier two sessions being conducted with Rotary Club (refer 07Dec07 post) and with school children (refer 08Jan08 post).

praful rao

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