Introduction This write-up is with regard to the news-paper reports on the “The Geological Survey of India (GSI) Report on the landslides in Kodagu”. This is based on the information furnished by the news-papers and by the scanned copies of the original report of the GSI. The report attributes the landslides to excessive rainfall and extensive slope modifications due to anthropogenic activities, and puts blame on the people who have been using the land to their benefit. This brief article is written in order to bring it to the notice of the authorities concerned, and the people in general, that some of the observations of the GSI are highly ill-conceived, mutually contradictory and technically unsound. They unnecessarily go to rake up untoward feelings and create an impression that the people of Kodagu (Karnataka’s ‘Male-naadu’, in general) responsible for pulling the wrath of the Nature on to themselves. The author of this critique is a Hydrologist, who has been working in the region on Runoff processes, Land-use and Soils for nearly three decades. The following is a review of the available material of the report, point by point. Continue reading “Landslides in Kodagu & Western Ghats: A critique of GSI report”→
Banner image Jajred landslide zone which just reactivated with commencement of monsoon rains. (Nishant Panwar, July 07, 2020)
Come monsoon and the Jajred mountain in Kalsi tehsil, Dehradun district in Uttarakhand starts falling apart. Located about 11 km away from Kalsi town, the landslide site near Amraha village blocks the vehicular movement on Kalsi-Chakrata state highway running through the zone for weeks sometimes for months.
This is a routine affair during monsoon for past many years damaging about 250 metre road stretch frequently thus cutting off the hundreds of villages in Jonsar-Bawar area from tehsil and state capital.
This photo is possibly the worst advertisement for a hydropower project with landslide rocks sitting on top of the dam. A massive landslide has severely damaged the 55 m high dam of the 510 MW Teesta Hydropower Project of NHPC, at 00.20 hours on June 27, 2020. This is a major blow to NHPC, considered India’s premier hydropower company. It’s also a major blow to the propaganda of International Hydropower Association, falsely pushing this very project as an example under IHA’s Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol[i].
NHPC PR on June 28 afternoon said the landslide happened “at Dam Axis on left abutment hill side from a height of about 40 meter from Dam top NHPC Teesta-V Dam at Dikchu, East Sikkim. The access to Dam Control Room (DCR) as well as electrical connection to Dam top was cut-off due to this slide.” The electricity supply was restored about 9 hours later. (https://www.facebook.com/1764846020501239/posts/2689927154659783/)
Finally, after five days gridlock, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway (NH-1A) has been opened to traffic, on Feb 17, 2018, but only for one side. The all weather road was closed since February 12, 2018 following landslides at multiple locations along Bichleri (Bichiari) stream (a tributary of Chenab River) between Banihal and Ramban area. The highway was briefly re-opened for traffic on February 14 only to be closed again on February 15, due to recurring landslides.
We have narrated below some details of the landslides along Jammu Srinagar Highway in Feb 2018 as well as earlier since 2011.
“Bolo Jai Jai Baba Bhole”, the Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi, while speaking at Kedarnath in Uttarakhand in Oct 2017[i], asked the people in audience to chant with him. Indian deity Mahadev, the presiding deity at Kedarnath on the banks of Mandakini river is possibly the closest to rivers and nature among all the deities, as is also clear from his attire. Baba Bhole is one of the many names of this deity. Incidentally, the massive, controversial Pancheshwar Dam a pet project of Mr Modi will also submerge the Pancheshwar Mahadev Temple, where too, the presiding deity is same Bhole Baba. But we will come back to Bhole Baba. Continue reading “Who exactly needs the Pancheshwar Dam?”→
Contrary to common mindset that Yamuna River is still flowing pristine in Himalaya, an exploratory visit (23-27 June 2015) inside Yamuna Valley underlines that construction of 120 MW Vyashi Hydro Electric Project report, proposed 300 MW Lakhwar dam and Katapathar Barrage is compromising the existence of the special river in its very homeland. The report also highlights that the river stretch where all these projects are coming up is prone to large scale landslides. It was also found that downstream community is unaware of environmental flow and the project developers are tight lipped on impact these projects over aquatic biodiversity. Road expansion work upstream these projects is dumping tonnes of debris into river, in complete violation of all norms (neither state nor central government seem bothered about these violations by the government agencies) further lifting up the already escalated riverbed. The perennial natural springs are gradually drying up in the area. Impact of all these impacts and threats on River Yamuna and riparian community still remain unstudied and unaddressed.