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'Use of explosives in road building key reason behind landslides in hills’

Use of explosives in road construction is one of the key reasons for frequent flooding and landslides in Pithoragarh, said Pradeep Kumar, a geologist of the Geology and Mining Unit of the state government

dehradun Updated: Aug 01, 2018 22:17 IST
BD Kasniyal
BD Kasniyal
Hindustan Times, Pithoragarh
Uttarakhand News
Workers clear a road after a landslide in Pithoragarh district.(HT Photo)

Use of explosives in road construction is one of the key reasons for frequent flooding and landslides in Pithoragarh, said Pradeep Kumar, a geologist of the Geology and Mining Unit of the state government.

“The continuous use of explosives to carve out roads has made the hills sensitive. That’s the reason why the landslides are occurring frequently,” said Kumar, who is surveying the district to outline reasons behind the landslides.

Kumar, who has surveyed more than 40 villages in the district, said nearly two-dozen villages were vulnerable to landslides and should be rehabilitated. “The mountains on which nearly two-dozen villages are located in Dharchula and Munsiyari subdivisions of Pithoragarh are fragile. The soil is slipping away due to the impact of tremors triggered by the use of explosives. They need immediate rehabilitation to avoid further loss,” he added.

More than 10 people have been killed and some are missing due to excessive rain in the past one month. The rain has also caused loss to houses and cattle wealth.

Kumar suggested measures to reduce the loss. “Safety walls shall be made along the rivulets that often swell due to monsoon and emphasis should be on putting a better drainage system,” he said.

RS Rana, the disaster management officer of Pithoragarh, said, “Over 26 village roads are still blocked and efforts are on to restore connectivity.”

The disaster office sources said that more than 371 people of 108 families are still living in relief tents provided by the office.

“We are facing tough time, as our 150 students could not go to school for last 15 days as the road from Baluakot to Payyapauri is still closed at Jaular. Nearly 15 vehicles are trapped at Guinya and Payya on blocked road,” said Diwan Singh Airy, a resident of Payya village in the district.

Meanwhile, chief minister TS Rawat on Wednesday reviewed the disaster preparedness and took meeting with the officials of sensitive districts — Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Bageshwar, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Tehri and Pauri.

In a video conference, Rawat laid emphasis on minimum response time. He directed to ensure availability of kerosene in view of the incessant rains in the identified districts. He also instructed to keep supply of food items in abundance in food warehouses.

The officers informed the CM that ration is stocked in the areas till September.

Rawat said the affected Jauljivi-Madkot-Munsiyari remote motorway has been partially opened. National highways and state highways affected by the rain have also been opened.

Uttarkashi MLA Gopal Singh Rawat demanded better disaster infrastructure, following which the CM directed the concerned officials to send a proposal to the centre government for assistance.

The Meteorological department (Met) has issued a “heavy rain” alert at isolated places in Kumaon region in next 24 hours. Heavy rain may occur on August 3, 4 and 5 at isolated places in Uttarakhand, the Met warned.

(With inputs from Dehradun)

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 22:17 IST