Saturday, December 8, 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel? : Tindharia/ Pagla Jhora landslides to be repaired soon.

STH has been associated with the Tindharia and Pagla Jhora landslides from Nov2011 when we did a big, well-attended workshop at Tindharia.
Thereafter, in July this year, after further landslides directly threatened the DHR workshop at Tindharia, we spent an entire day in the area checking the drainage and preparing a report for an expert and a friend (see here).
I am glad to say that the PWD will finally be taking up repairs of both the above landslide areas in the near future. You can read the Telegraph article here and this move I am sure, comes directly as an aftermath of the visit to Kolkata by the high powered NDMA team early this week (read here)

My only fear is, that is it too little - too late?

Because the way our bureaucracy groans and grinds along, by the time the work ACTUALLY starts, the monsoons of 2013 will be here and during the rainy season, we all know that major preventive work cannot really be done; all we can do then is fire fighting and emergency crisis management.
The monsoons were mild this year (which poses other problems as regards severe water shortage problems in the Mar-May2013) so we did not have major landslides in our area.

In an age where we should increasingly be expecting the unexpected, aren't we pushing our luck too far to for hope this trend to continue?

Praful Rao

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Paglajhora-Tindharia sinking zone is really a big concern to socio-economic environment of Darjiling Himalayas. Since 1950 the area has been affected by severe landslide almost at a regular interval. The present scenario has become out of control. Slope between the upper and lower Shivkhola has become too steep along with fragile rocks. Contruction of retention walls alongwith drainage configuration has failed in the are for so many times, although the constructions were very poor. Wastes of broken retention walls are adding extra amount of sediment to the rivers that creates another hazard. Thus, we need to think some alternative communication links so that the affected area can get rest from heavy vehicle movement and human intervention at least for some years. The angle of repose will be automatically adjusted through the growth of indegenous vegetation just like Ambootia. I hope the concept of tunneling was good.
This is exclusively my personal opinion based on my acquired knowledge on landslides as well as the area since 1995.