Sunday, September 20, 2015

Contact Program on 'Landslide Disasters' :18/19Sep2015 at Darjeeling

1. The meeting was Chaired by Shri Suresh Kr (IAS), Principal Secretary, Disaster Management Dept, Govt of W.B, with Shri Ikhlaque Islam, WBCS (Exe), Jt Secretary and Nodal Officer Disaster Management Dept, Govt of W Bengal also present.
Geological Survey of India (GSI) which is the nodal body looking after landslides in India  and was co-hosting the event was represented by :-
i. Shri M Raju, Addnl Dir General and HoD Eastern Region, Kolkata
ii. Shri JN Das, Dy Director, GSI
iii. Shri BM Gairola, Dir NHIM Div, New Delhi
iv. Shri M Ghatak, Superintendant Geologist
v. Shri S Ghosh, Superintendant Geologist, GHRM, Central HQ, Kolkata
vi. Shri Jaiswal, Geologist, GHRM, Central HQ, Kolkata
vii. Shri T Ghosal, Geologist, ER Kolkata
2. Significant takeaways from the meeting were :-
a. GSI have confirmed that a geo-technical investigation of the Chibo- Pashyor landslides would be undertaken. This will give us hard scientific data on the state of the landslides in that area and pave the means to technical intervention and funding to stabilize the slopes.
b. Rainfall threshold based forecasting/prediction of landslides which had been tested successfully in the Nilgiris would also be brought into Darjeeling district on a trial basis.
c. Disaster Management Dept, Govt of W B would look into making documentary films in Nepali for landslide awareness.
d. Disaster Management Dept, Govt of W B, would take up the unserviceability of  large number of AWS stations with IMD. AWS station in Darjeeling, Gangtok and Siliguri are defective for more than a year now.
3. It was a pity there was no representation of officials from the GTA during the meeting since the Darjeeling/ Sikkim Himalaya are amongst the most landslide prone areas in the country and interacting with the experts at Darjeeling on 18/19Sep2015 would have been a tremendous opportunity for them to be exposed to new technology and techniques to combat a disaster form which is now the most serious environment challenge for us living in these mountains.
Further more since so many high ranking GSI officials were available for 2 days in Darjeeling, we could have asked them for technical investigation of the many major landslides in the Darjeeling hills

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling.

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