Shimla, Aug 14: A massive landslide near Padhar in Mandi district should ring alarm bell for planners, engineers and geologists as the model of development in the hills is an invitation to more such disasters.
Large-scale construction of roads by reckless felling of trees, vertical cutting of fragile hills without conducting any geological study of the strata and scant regard for environmental concerns are the reasons behind disaster of this scale. Earlier also, landslides had claimed human lives and the devastation, caused by calamities like flash floods and earthquakes, is more if the hills are destabilised due to the increased activity.
Some buses were buried under debris in a massive landslide near Matiana in Shimla district in 1988 and the search for buses and the bodies was abandoned after 45 bodies were recovered. In a similar incident at Luggarhatti, three buses were buried under the debris in 1995 and 60 persons died. As many as 22 persons were swept away in a landslide near Ghanvi in Shimla district in 2006, 29 were killed in a massive landslide at Sholding in Kinnaur two decades ago.
The Shimla-Kalka NH has become highly prone to landslides due to massive cutting of hills under the four-laning project work. Large-scale mining and excavations, in which explosives are used, have made the hill strata fragile and in some areas, villages are sinking and houses have developed cracks while unscientific mining and boring of tunnels have led to drying of natural resources of water, said president, Himlok Jagriti Manch, RS Negi.
The situation is precarious as 71 highway projects are in the pipeline. What will be their effect on the fragile ecology when these projects are competed is anybody’s guess.
Source Tribune India