Guwahati, May 20: The governments of the northeastern states have failed to take measures to prevent landslides despite the fact that more than 50 landslides occur every year in the region.
However, come September, the Northeast, which has 20 per cent of the landslide-prone areas of the country, will be the focus of the second Indian Landslide Congress to be held in Guwahati.
The meeting, on the theme Seismicity and Landslides, will discuss site-specific case studies, including monitoring and early warning system, landslide hazard-zone mapping and seismically induced landslides.
“There is a lack of priority given to this task by the state governments. The PWDs have been entrusted with the task of restoring communication by clearing the landslides as and when they occur,” a member of the council, P.P. Shrivastav, said.
The two-day congress on September 15 and 16 is being organised by the North Eastern Council (NEC).
Nearly 458 landslides have take place in the Northeast between 2001and 2009 — yet the governments in northeastern states are not according it top priority.
The Geological Survey of India, the nodal agency for landslides in the country, has also prepared a hazard zone map of a number of places in the region.
Shrivastav said the first Indian Landslides Congress held at Lucknow in November took serious note of the acute problem of landslides in the Northeast. It decided to hold the second congress in Guwahati, which would be devoted exclusively to the problem of landslides in the Northeast.
Experts from Geological Survey of India, state disaster management authorities of the region and the North East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat, will attend the meeting. Major communication links are disrupted year after year in the region by landslides cutting off vital movements and supply lines.
Landslides in Guwahati have claimed many lives and caused a lot of destruction, displacing many people from their homes in the past.
The Sonapur landslide, an old and active huge rock-cum-debris slide on National Highway 44 near Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, becomes active almost every year, particularly during the monsoon, blocking the highway, which is the lifeline of southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
Experts say landslides in the region mostly occur along the road-cuts — made by cutting into a hillside. These road-cuts destabilise the hillside, causing landslides that damage homes and highways. The landslips also occur in the rural and urban areas because of the construction of roads.
Landslides, studied during the past two decades, have been categorised in 10 types: (i) planar failure, (ii) wedge failure, (iii) rock fall, (iv) debris slide, (v) subsidence, (vi) minor slip, (vii) slump, (viii) creep, (ix) earthquake induced landslides and (x) unclassified.
The Tawang monastery is also facing problems as landslides triggered by rainfall has ripped away the entire chunk of landmass below it.
The National Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines to institutionalise landslide hazard mitigation efforts, to make people aware of the various aspects of landslide hazard in the country and to prepare them to take suitable action which would reduce risks and costs associated with this hazard.