In a bid to save people from landslides in mountainous regions, Kerala based Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University has set up a wireless sensor network system in Sikkim-Darjeeling belt to predict and signal early warning of landslides to locals.
Speaking on the sidelines of “Amrita’s real-time landslide warning system to save lives in Himalayan region” in Gangtok, the university Vice-Chancellor Venkat Rangan told IANS: “This system will give advance warnings of landslides so that people can be safely evacuated before disaster strikes.
“After successfully commissioning India’s first such system in Munnar in Kerala, the university has now started a second installation in Sikkim to guard against rainfall-induced landslides in the Sikkim-Darjeeling belt” Rangan said.
The system was deployed in collaboration with the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences at a cost of Rs 5 crore-initiated with the British Geological Society and the United Kingdom’s meteorological department, he said.
Centre for Wireless Networks and Applications Director Maneesha Sudheer said: “The system consists of over 200 sensors that can measure geophysical and hydrological parameters like rainfall, pore pressure and seismic activity.”
She said that current system will monitor a densely populated area spanning 150 acres around the Chandmari village in Gangtok district.
Explaining the major triggering factors of landslides, Sudheer said that areas of steep slopes, those having tectonic activity and hilly terrains with heavy rainfall are at great risk.
On September 13, heavy incessant rains in Sikkim’s north district activated landslides that destroyed bridges, including the main bridge Rafong Khola between Mangan and Chungthang, and cut off communication links to the rest of the country.