Work on for early landslide warning system

India has the highest number of landslides and deaths due to it in the world

Widespread devastation, numerous road crashes and deaths caused by landslides in several parts of the country throughout the year have turned the spotlight on the urgent need for its early detection or monitoring systems.

Several groups of researchers in the country are working upon solutions to reduce landslide-induced fatalities by providing early and accurate warnings so that traffic can be stopped on certain routes and the people are relocated to safer places on time.

Landslides are the third biggest natural disasters in the world, with India experiencing the biggest bulk of them — 15% of the country is prone to landslides and India has the highest number of landslide deaths in the world.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi, who claim to have developed the cheapest solution for landslide monitoring system across the globe are now experimenting with the same system across railway tracks.

“We have patented a surface-level motion sensor-based early warning system developed by our team. The device gathers information about weather parameters, soil moisture, and soil movement and when it detects a large displacement of soil which could result in a landslide, it sends SMS alerts,” Varun Dutt, Associate Professor, IIT Mandi said.

“The sensors alerted officials about an imminent landslide on the Mandi-Jogindernagar highway, which helped the police turn away vehicles from the road before it was washed away. The cost of installing our system is around ₹80,000 which is the cheapest for such systems across the globe with the usual costs roughly being around Rs 2 crore,” he added.

Currently, 13 landslide monitoring systems are installed across Himachal Pradesh.

‘Systems deployed’

“Three systems have recently been deployed in Dharampur along the Kalka — Shimla track with Indian Railways. Several other deployments are in the pipeline, which include several districts in HP, Maharashtra and Kerala,” said Mr. Dutt.

Among the ongoing experiments for early detection of landslides is by Coimbatore-based Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, which has set up real-time landslide monitoring and early warning systems in Munnar (Kerala) and Gangtok (Sikkim).

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