Home Dehradun SDC report highlights large number of July landslides

SDC report highlights large number of July landslides


By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 24 Aug: Dehradun-based think tank Social Development for Communities (SDC) Foundation has been releasing its reports on major natural calamities and accidents in Uttarakhand on a monthly basis. As part of this, SDC has now released its report for the month of July 2023.

According to SDC founder Anoop Nautiyal, the purpose of the Uttarakhand Disaster and Accident Synopsis (UDAS) report is the documentation and compilation of major disasters and accidents that occur in the state of Uttarakhand. The monthly report is based on news reports published in credible Hindi and English newspapers and news portals.

Land Subsidence in Joshimath

With the intensification of the monsoon, fresh cases of land subsidence have been reported in Joshimath. New cracks were observed in several places.

The Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, a citizen’s collective, continued its protests regarding demands for resettlement. The Samiti has alleged that the situation in Joshimath has worsened, but the government is not taking serious steps.

Meanwhile, a study by geoscientists has been published in the journal, “Current Science”. The report indicates that the situation in Joshimath has arisen due to rapid population growth, unregulated basic infrastructure development, inadequate drainage, excavation of roads, and improper waste disposal. The report also states that, in recent decades, significant basic infrastructure development activities have been observed in the Himalayan region, which are having adverse effects on ecology and stability of the area.

Tragedy Strikes with 16 Deaths Due to Electric Shock

On July 19, 2023, a tragic incident occurred in the district of Chamoli in Uttarakhand. In the Namami Gange project sewage treatment plant, an electric current spread, resulting in the death of sixteen individuals. Eleven people were also injured in this incident.

A magisterial investigation of the incident uncovered improper earthing systems and non-installation of MCCB (molded case circuit breaker) at the STP.  According to Abhishek Tripathi, the Additional District Magistrate of Chamoli, recommendations have been made to blacklist two companies, Jai Bhushan Malik Contractors from Patiala and Confident Engineering India from Coimbatore.

The report recommended departmental action against the officials concerned of Jal Sansthan and UPCL. The report also recommended electricity safety audits of all sewage treatment plants so that such incidents could be avoided in the future.

Tilting in Gopinath Temple

The June 2023 UDAS report had also highlighted tilting that was observed in the Gopinath Temple located in Gopeshwar. In the latest developments, a team of ASI recently found foul smelling sewage inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Gopinath Temple, which it said is a serious threat to the sanctity of the 11th century shrine.

ASI officials said they had written to the district administration about the grave concern of waterlogging and damaged sewer lines near the temple, due to which sewage has reached the sanctum sanctorum.

Landslides at Mansa Devi hill in Haridwar threaten safety of 50,000 locals

The recurring landslides and land erosion from Mansa Devi hill during the monsoon season have become a grave concern for the safety of 50,000 residents. This poses a threat to areas like Brahmapuri, Khadkhnadi, Nayi Basi, Jogia Mandi and Bhimgoda.

Over the past month, the Dehradun Haridwar railway track has been closed on four occasions due to debris. In light of these risks, the district magistrate of Haridwar has urgently written to the disaster management secretary, requesting the formation of an expert committee to assess the situation in the area.

The sinking of Mastadi village, Uttarkashi District

Similar to Joshimath, residents of Mastadi are getting very alarmed as the situation with land subsidence and cracks in their homes is worsening. Water is seeping inside and fresh cracks have appeared in houses, suspected to be caused by land subsidence following heavy rain.

Satyanarayan Semwal, Gram Pradhan of Mastadi, said, “At the very least, families residing in the approximately 30 severely affected houses should be relocated. A team of geologists had surveyed the village way back in 1997. However, no concrete action has been taken to address the problem to date”.

A geological department team from Dehradun along with the district administration officials conducted a survey of Mastadi in July end 2023. The team collected samples of soil to determine the causes behind the cracks. The geological team will submit the report to the government after which further action will be taken.

Learning from the Odisha Model of Disaster Management

Anoop Nautiyal stated that Uttarakhand needs to learn from the Odisha model for disaster management. The Odisha model provides essential lessons on strengthening disaster-resilient governance, investing in preparedness and scenario planning, and enhancing understanding and spread of disaster risk. Despite being a coastal state, Odisha’s approach to disaster management can offer valuable insights into various aspects.

He expressed hope that the Uttarakhand UDAS monthly report would be helpful for the politicians, policy makers, researchers, civil society organisations and media persons of Uttarakhand. Along with this, it can also be used while making policies for the reduction of death and devastation due to the frequent disasters and accidents in the state.