Thursday, September 11, 2008

Whatever happened after this??

While perambulating the web in search of articles on our landslide issue, I came across this one - I did not read it when it appeared in 2003 but having read it now, I can't help wondering whatever happened after the article was published?

The sad truth is : NOTHING
Excerpt from Times of India 16Jul2003

Darjeeling hills doomed: Geologists

KOLKATA: Geologists examining frequent landslides in West Bengal's Darjeeling hills fear that in about 75 years the vagaries of nature could destroy most of this popular summer getaway.

The forecast, made by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in a report, came as a rude blow to the state government, coming as it did after 24 people were killed by landslides in the region this month.

"We have received the distressing GSI report on the future of Darjeeling hills. We are examining the options to limit the damage to the hills," state Relief Minister Hafiz Alam Sairani said.

The report was presented to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya on Tuesday by Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Amar Chowdhury after his return from Darjeeling, some 700 km north of here.

According to the report, vast stretches of the Darjeeling hills and its many hill resorts like Darjeeling town, Kurseong and Mirik may not survive beyond 75 years.

The future of Kurseong and its adjoining areas, where several prominent public schools are located, seemed to be the most bleak.

This was primarily because huge deposits of loose soil covering the rocky foundation were washed away with the rains, causing the landslides.

Deforestation, the blocking of natural drainage systems and thoughtless construction had also weakened the soil of the hills.

The GSI did not hold out much hope for the arterial Hill Cart Road, connecting Darjeeling and Kurseong with Siliguri town that has the nearest rail and air services.

The road suffers multiple landslides every year and remains closed to traffic for about two months for repairs. It is closed once again, resulting in thousands of tourists, who chose not to take risky detours, being stranded in Darjeeling.

The GSI said a more stable road could be built – if the road is re-laid on the rocky foundation after 25 metres of loose soil on which it stands is dug up.

The state has asked the centre for Rs 60 million to repair the road.


praful rao

1 comment:

Hemkar J.B. Rana said...

It is indeed very SAD to know the fact that even after 8 years ever since the article was published (and moreover the issue was presented to the Chief Minister) it was Overlooked.
Now that more landslides are occuring every now and then,this issue needs to be taken more seriously.