Saturday, May 10, 2008

The writing on the wall...

"Landslides are common disaster phenomenon in many countries causing great economic losses. The Darjiling-Sikkim Himalayas in India is known to be the most severely affected. Even a glance at landslide statistics gives some idea of the enormity of the damage done and the ever present threat to lives and property.

Unauthorised structures in unsafe zones, absence of an adequate drainage system and unplanned growth of settlements have accelerated the process of ecological imbalance.

With rapid urbanization and a phenomenal growth of tourism, the Darjiling and Sikkim Himalayas have been experiencing an unprecedented rise in population since independence. Consequently, pressure on land is increasing with the gradual elimination of virgin forests. Unscientific and unplanned usages of land coupled with vulnerable geological structure and high rainfall have led to the establishment of vicious cycle of soil erosion and landslides. During or after every monsoon, landslides create havoc in the Darjiling-Sikkim Himalayas devastating human lives and properties. As a result, the Darjiling-Sikkim Himalayas, one of the most densely populated tourist centers in such monsoon environments, is on the verge of an environmental catastrophe so that just one concentrated shower of 50mm per hour could initiate landslides endangering innumerable local people and their properties."


Subhash Ranjan Basu,
Dept of Geography ,
University of
Ballygunge Circular Road- Kolkata -19


Sunil Kr De,
Dept of Geography ,
Union Christian Training College



Excerpts fromGeographia Polonica” Vol76. No2 Autumn 2003
Published by the
Polish Academy of Sciences
Institute of Geography and Spatial Sciences


Comment by praful rao

In May 2008, five years after the above article was published and after having witnessed, photographed, reported about the Sep2007 landslides, I cannot agree more with the what has been written .
Unless stringent and sustained measures are taken urgently, I am sure that we are hurtling headlong into a disaster of mammoth proportions here in the hills.
The whole document is on the internet and can be googled out.
The italics are mine.

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