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Land use pattern on hills responsible: Experts

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 27 � More fatalities and loss of property can be expected during this monsoon if people do not refrain from changing the land use pattern on hill slopes in and around Guwahati.

This is the point of agreement between experts who have analysed the recent incidents of landslides and sought answers about their causes. Geologists, engineers and first responders who have documented the disasters point out that removal of vegetation followed by shoddy human settlements are the two culprits responsible for landslides.

In almost all the cases which involved damage to property and loss of lives, it was seen that green cover was removed and houses built on areas close to dangerous gradients.

According to a geologist of Gauhati University who has carried out studies, including assessment of satellite imagery spread over several years, the hill slopes of Guwahati have lost significant green cover over the past couple of years.

�The consequence is a rise in surface run-off and degradation of the land,� he says.

It is now easier for water to seep into the hill slopes and trigger landslides and landslips. The geology of the hills, which are not very old in origin, also makes the ground particularly vulnerable, he added.

First responders who have been kept busy by the continuing landslides believe that unsafe location of the houses is a key factor in the mounting death toll this season. �People have constructed houses in places that are hazardous, even places which are difficult to access on foot,�� said a senior personnel of Fire Services.

Today in the wee hours, teams from Fire Services and SDRF that rushed to Dhirenpara could not start operations due to inclement weather and locational disadvantages, indicating the severity of the problem.

The political dimension has made the issue much more complex. Even though the Forest Department and District Administration have sought to remove illegal settlers from hills, local elected representatives have intervened to ensure that encroachment continues unabated.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Land use pattern on hills responsible: Experts

GUWAHATI, June 27 � More fatalities and loss of property can be expected during this monsoon if people do not refrain from changing the land use pattern on hill slopes in and around Guwahati.

This is the point of agreement between experts who have analysed the recent incidents of landslides and sought answers about their causes. Geologists, engineers and first responders who have documented the disasters point out that removal of vegetation followed by shoddy human settlements are the two culprits responsible for landslides.

In almost all the cases which involved damage to property and loss of lives, it was seen that green cover was removed and houses built on areas close to dangerous gradients.

According to a geologist of Gauhati University who has carried out studies, including assessment of satellite imagery spread over several years, the hill slopes of Guwahati have lost significant green cover over the past couple of years.

�The consequence is a rise in surface run-off and degradation of the land,� he says.

It is now easier for water to seep into the hill slopes and trigger landslides and landslips. The geology of the hills, which are not very old in origin, also makes the ground particularly vulnerable, he added.

First responders who have been kept busy by the continuing landslides believe that unsafe location of the houses is a key factor in the mounting death toll this season. �People have constructed houses in places that are hazardous, even places which are difficult to access on foot,�� said a senior personnel of Fire Services.

Today in the wee hours, teams from Fire Services and SDRF that rushed to Dhirenpara could not start operations due to inclement weather and locational disadvantages, indicating the severity of the problem.

The political dimension has made the issue much more complex. Even though the Forest Department and District Administration have sought to remove illegal settlers from hills, local elected representatives have intervened to ensure that encroachment continues unabated.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)