After successfully commissioning India's first real-time landslide warning system in Kerala's Western Ghats, Amrita University is now readying a second installation in Sikkim to guard against rainfall-induced landslides in the Sikkim-Darjeeling belt.
Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Venkat Rangan, Vice-Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham said the project is jointly funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham for which the Union ministry had granted Rs 5 crore.
"After initiating the work for the development of the landslide warning system in 2006, under the funding by European Commission, the system was deployed in Western Ghats in 2009 in Kerala's Munnar district. This system has been actively monitoring the area for landslides for the last 10 years and has issued several successful warnings to date," said Dr Venkat Rangan.
Impressed by this success story, the government of India approached Amrita to develop a similar system for the Sikkim-Darjeeling region which is very active geologically and is vulnerable to rainfall-induced landslides, he informed.
"Accordingly, we have deployed this new system in collaboration with the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority," he said.
Director Amrita Centre for Wireless Networks and Application, Dr Maneesha V Ramesh said, "Amrita's new IoT (Internet of Things) system for landslides, being installed in Sikkim, is custom developed for Himalayan geology. It consists of over 200 sensors which can measure geophysical and hydrological parameters like rainfall, pore pressure and seismic activity." It will monitor a densely populated area spanning 150 acres around the Chandmari village in Sikkim's Gangtok District, she said.
This area has seen landslides in the past, the first one being reported in 1997, the two scientists informed.
Dr Sudheer said, to improve the system's reliability and enhance the early warning duration, a three-level Landslide Early Warning Modelhas been developed.
Elaborating on the functioning of the system, she said, "The first level, based on rainfall threshold, has successfully completed the testing phase and is ready to go live and issue alerts for potential landslides at the state level.
"In the second level, the system would generate a Factor of Safety (FOS) value for various points on the hill in real-time that will provide a more specific warning for the Chandmari region based on the rainfall, moisture and pore pressure sensor data from the field.
"In the third level, the system would use data derived from the movement and vibrational sensors to issue landslide detection warning," Dr Ramesh said.
She said that the system would enable the scientists to alert the administration at least 48 hours early, allowing them to evacuate inhabitants 24 hours ahead of the anticipated disaster.
The entire system has been developed to use solar energy, and it is being further developed to ensure that warning sensors don't get washed away in case of major landslides.
Dr Sudheer said, Amrita University has been approached by the Maharashtra government for similar project. While Darjeeling area in West Bengal is high risk zone, she said, the university has not received any invitation from the state government for deployment of the system there.
The university may take up Uttarakhand next, but Dr Sudheer confessed Uttarakhand due to its high vulnerability to landslides and extreme climatic conditions, would be far more complex.
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-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0211-1461089.Xml