Glacier Commission to enter second phase from April

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Gangtok, Mar 19 (UNI) A team of experts will conduct a physical survey of Sikkim's 84 glaciers while another from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Space Application Centre will map the study through Remote Sensing Study from May onwards.

This would be in the second phase of the eight-member Glacier and Climatic Studies Commission launched by the state government on January 17 and would be headed by Prof S I Hasnain, senior fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

''Our next meeting is on April and then in May we will send a team of research staff and experts to the glaciers for study,'' state science and technology secretary and member secretary of the Glacier Commission M L Arrawatia said.

JNU professor Milap Chand Sharma and Space Application Remote Sensing studies professor A B Kulkarni would be conducting Remote Sensing studies, Mr Arrawatia told to UNI.

''Both the research team and the remote sensing studies will be working in collaboration,'' he added.

The commission had been empowered to review the current state of glaciers and its potential impact of climate change on the Sikkim Himalayan region.

Sikkim has 84 glaciers, probably the largest number in the country extending to an area of 691 sq km with a snowfield area of 251 sq km acting as natural reservoirs for supply of water to the major river systems in the state.

The largest glacier is Zemu glacier covers an area of 116.8 sq km.

The Commission would meet in April in Gangtok for assessment of their responsibilities given to each after the commission was formally launched four months ago.

Studies had been initiated by each member and the next meeting will strengthen the collaboration, Mr Arrawatia said.

Prof Hasnain has been entrusted with identification of benchmark glaciers in Sikkim and to suggest measures for modern scientific and technological interventions on the issue of glaciology management in the context of emerging climate change pattern.

Meanwhile, Mr Arrawatia is in the process of completing the nine tasks entrusted under his responsibility which includes preparing a support core group.

Besides directly impacting on the livelihood systems of a huge mass of the hill population, the glaciers meltdown can be disastrous for the array of hydel power plants that are being built in the Teesta and other river basin in Sikkim and neighbouring states.

After its study, the commission will suggest measures for modern scientific and technological interventions on the issue of glaciology management and draw up an action plan. The commission will also submit its recommendations by December this year.


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