Darjeeling landslides: GSI developing digitised susceptibility maps

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Kolkata, July 10 : The Geological Survey of India (GSI) will come up with an digitised and updated database of landslide susceptible zones for West Bengal's Darjeeling hills where recent landslides claimed over 30 lives, an official said on Friday.

In the aftermath of the Darjeeling landslides that struck the region earlier this month, two teams of GSI experts are currently surveying two worst-affected zones of Mirik and Kalimpong.

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"Four officials divided into two teams have started survey work on Thursday. Initially, they have begun work in and around Mirikh and Kalimpong. The GIS-enabled map will be ready by next year," Saibal Ghosh, superintending geologist and officer-in-charge Geohazards Research and Management Cell, GSI, told IANS.

The team will ascertain the category of landslides, the dimension of the landslide, the geology, the geomorphology (study of characteristics, origin, and development of landforms) as well as what triggered them, he said.

The team comprises three officers from Kolkata and one from Sikkim.

Ghosh said the causes of these landslides are mainly natural "because Darjeeling-Sikkim Hills are perennially landslide-prone, but effect of anthropogenic (man-made) interference sometimes aggravates the situation locally at some places".

In addition, the survey will add to the know-how on the relation of rainfall intensity and landslides initiation. The priority is places where human population is more.

The data collected by them will be fed into a national database as part of the ongoing 'National Landslide Susceptible Mapping' programme.

The susceptibility database will aid in disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction with the target to minimise impact on human settlements, said Ghosh.

IANS

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