Friday, April 11, 2008

Moving the landslide issue centre stage

Amongst the many people, that letters have been sent to regarding the landslide problem in this area is Dr RK Bhandari, Chairman, CENTRE FOR DISASTER MITIGATION AND MANAGEMENT, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore.
Placed below is a reply from the Dr RK Bhandari:-


VIT University
, Vellore

10 April 2008

Dear Wg Cdr Prafulla Rao

I thank you for sending me a copy of your letter dated 28 March regarding Landslide Hazard in the Darjeeling District. addressed to the President of the National Disaster Management Authority of the Government of India. In my view the landslides in the Darjeeling District are not only your concern but indeed a national concern. I fully share your concern and let me assure you that personally I will do everything possible to make my humble contribution which can only be of intellectual nature. The major initiative will have to come from the Government of West Bengal and the Government of India ( NDMA + Ministry of Earth Sciences + Department of Science and Technology + DGBR). I am aware of the profound interest being taken by HE the Governor of West Bengal and I do hope that we can all act with speed for stitch in time.

If you have any documentation, reports , maps and statement of problems, please feel free to send those to me by email or post. You are also welcome to visit me either in Vellore or in Delhi on any date of mutual convenience. I would have even visited you myself but that would not serve much of a purpose unless a multi-disciplinary team is provided with necessary resource and charged with the responsibility to come out with a solution. For facilitating investigations and remediation with speed, may I suggest the following for your immediate attention.

(1) Procurement of the related base maps ( topo sheets)from the Survey of India. The larger the scale of maps, the better.
(2)Mapping of landslides of major concern on the maps. Please number these landslides for easy identification.
(3) Record all that the residents know about these landslides also their observations on anticipated problems
(4) Procure geological/geomorphological maps from the Geological Survey of India
(5) Create a library of the earlier reports
(6) Obtain past rainfall data and ensure that continuous rainfall data is available related to all sites.
(7) Take photographs of special features , observations , cracks , tilted trees , poles etc.
(8)Establish a team of retired experts living in Darjeeling District and involve them in the studies.
(9) Evacuate /Vacate a building if the landslide seem imminent.

Best regards


About Dr RK Bhandari

Dr R.K.Bhandari is an acknowledged authority in the area of Natural Disaster Mitigation and Management, with pioneering contribution in the discipline of geotechnical engineering. The main thrust of his work continues to be on sustainable development of Hilly Regions including the State of Uttaranchal where he spent more than a decade.

Dr Bhandari's qualifications include a B.E., Rajasthan, M.Tech in Geotechnical Engineering, IIT Bombay, D.I.C, Imperial College, and PhD in Engineering, University of London.

Dr. Bhanadari has served with distinction, earlier, with the Central Road Research Institute, Central Building Research Institute, as visiting faculty with University of Wollongong, Australia and the UN Centre for Human Settlements, and CSIR.

His very intimate involvement in study of major natural disasters in India especially the great Mapla tragedy, the Orissa Super Cyclone and the devastating Bhuj earthquake, eventually prompted him to move to Chennai as the Director of Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management in March 2001 where he is currently placed.

Dr Bhandari has nearly 200 research papers, half a dozen monographs and 8 patents to his credit.As a member of the High Powered Committee of the Government of India on Disaster Management Plan, he gave the vision of Disaster Free India. His report on Seismic Microzonation submitted to the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India has become a landmark contribution. His idea of setting up a Disaster Knowledge Network for India is now a part of the recommendation of the High Powered Committee to the Government of India. .

In recognition of his outstanding professional contribution, the awards bestowed on him include Bhasin Foundation Award in Engineering & Transportation; Plaque of Honour from the Japanese Society of Soil Mechanics; Plaque of Honour from the South East Asian Geotechnical Society; Jaikrishna Prize of the Institution of Engineers (India); AIMIL Gold Medal; IGS Kuekalmann Award and Eminent Engineer award of the Institution of Engineers.

Honors from the highest professional bodies included fellowship of Institution of Civil Engineers, London, Indian National Academy of Engineering Institution of Engineers, and Indian Geotechnical Society.


praful rao

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