To develop an advance warning system predicting landslide in areas prone to the natural disaster, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has started testing the regional Landslide Early Warning System (LEWS) in Darjeeling and Nilgiris, a senior scientist said on Friday. The system, at these two places - Darjeeling in West Bengal and Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu -, will be tested for at least three to four years for validation before making it operational there, he said.
"We will carry out extensive ground validation and testing of the LEWS models for a few monsoon years and including application in some other landslide prone states before making it operational," Director GHRM Centre, GSI Dr Saibal Ghosh said. The GSI has developed LEWS collaborating with an international research programme — Landslip — working with Indian and international researchers in various fields of landscape, climate and social dynamics, Dr Ghosh said.
In India, the mountainous and hilly areas are spreading 16 states and in two union territories in the Himalayan region, sub-Himalayan parts of north-east India and in Western Ghats which are landslide prone. This landslide prone area comprises about 12.6 per cent of Indian landmass (4.2 lakh sqkm) in more than 170 districts. Incidentally, the GSI is on the verge of completing the National Landslide Susceptibility Mapping (NLSM) where landslide susceptibility map on 1: 50,000 scale for the entire landslide prone areas in India (4.2 lakh sq km) including creation of a national landslide inventory is being generated using both remote sensing and field-based input data.
Talking about the Landslide susceptibility map, the geologist said, "It's an excellent spatial forecasting tool which can be used for implementing land use zoning regulations. In India, Nilgiri district and Nainital are using it but other landslide prone states must also start using this vital geo-information tool for hill area development and management." He said, "Besides regional landslide early warning and execution of NLSM project … we are also giving stress on upscaling the landslide hazard zonation work at identified and selected sectors as per the requests from the concerned state governments.".