Imphal, July 23 2017: The inclusion of geologists and civil engineers while constructing roads and bridges as well as developing the inhabited areas will reduce the chances of landslides, said Sanoujam Manichandra, a scientist at the Seismological Observatory located at the MU Campus .
In an interview with The Sangai Express, Manichandra pointed out that in the earlier times, there have been instances of huge landslides and fissures on the road which originated from Kohima and reached Imphal via the National Highway and went further to Mizoram through the western side (Mao and Churachandpur) by hugging the foothills .
“Because of this, the National Highway route is littered with areas of loose soil even today.
During World War II, the British constructed the road as a wartime measure along the region’s hilly terrain for the movement of their troops and supplies and the people of Manipur started using as a National Highway later”, he explained .
He said, “This old roadway has been prone to landslides in the past and will remain so in the future.
In the other hilly districts also, areas where landslides have occurred already in the past are more likely to face it again.
Since people are not aware of earlier instances of landslides, they settle in these areas ignorant of the fact a landslide may occur at any moment.
So, relevant specialists like geologists and civil engineers must be included while preparing to build roads or bridges so as to ascertain the locations and sites where they can be safely built and to avoid potential and catastrophic landslides” .
He further added that due care must be taken as most areas in the hills are places where landslide has occurred in the past .
“To cut deep into the base of the hill while constructing National Highways or village roads is even more hazardous.
Either while constructing roads and bridges or settling down in a new place, prior consultation must be had with the concerned experts as well as village chiefs and respective DCs.
It may be an oversight but the Seismological Observatory has never come across any kind of survey involving any geologist or civil engineer so far.
Besides, there are further causes of worry with the rise of temperature due to global warming, shifting cultivation, storing of water for fisheries and deforestation which all makes it easier for landslides to happen”, Manichandra warned .
He also said that the normal amount of rainfall in a year is about 1500 mm but it has already reached approximately 1300 mm till the month of July .
“That leaves only 200 mm for the rest of the year which is quite less and therefore there might be a possibility of drought as well”, he added .
Manichandra also said that he has submitted various papers to the State Government over the years to include geologists and civil engineers while constructing roads and bridges in the hills.
“Unfortunately, no action has been taken so far on the suggestions of the Seismological Observatory”, Manichandra stated .
Since Manipur lies in an earthquake prone zone, he asked the people to consult the experts while constructing their houses .
“As the Indian Plate dives under the Myanmar Plate, Manipur lies in the Seismic Zone V.Because of the fluctuation in the temperature, there has been immense changes on the earth’s crust which is rather unfortunate”, he said .
The Seismological Observatory is a project under Professor Arunkumar of the Earth Sciences Department of Manipur University .
A GPS Station has been positioned on a hilltop inside MU campus since the last 12 years and another is stationed at the Langthabal Khoupum hilltop since 2014, he also added.
Source: The Sangai Express