Recharge pits blamed for landslide in Talacauvery

Scientists from Geological Survey of India issue advisory against sinking new recharge pits in Brahmagiri hill range

Experts from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) have blamed recharge pits for landslides in Brahmagiri hill range in Kodagu in August this year.

A GSI team, which inspected the site of a major landslide at Gajagiri Hills in Talacauvery on Monday, advised against sinking more recharge pits and suggested closing all recharge pits meant for groundwater conservation in Brahmagiri Hills. More tree planting should take place in the hills as a measure to prevent landslides, the team said.

The three-member GSI team and the district authorities held a meeting at Aranya Bhavan in Talacauvery after inspecting the site of landslide, on the measures to be taken for preventing such mishaps in the years ahead.

Aijaz from Jammu and Kashmir, Kamal Kumar from Uttar Pradesh and Senthil Kumar from Tamil Nadu were in the GSI team.

Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy, who was present, said preventive measures against landslides had become necessary since calamities had been reported in Kodagu in 2007, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The meeting discussed the priority for shifting people living in areas vulnerable to landslides during monsoon besides taking measures for providing permanent housing to the relocated families.

The meeting said a Natural Disaster Management Committee had been constituted in each Gram Panchayat limit in Kodagu and the committee should be informed before any works were carried out in the vulnerable areas coming under the respective GP limit.

The committee has members from the Departments of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj; Revenue; Forest; Public Works; Mines and Geology; and Land Records. Any decision on the works can be taken after bringing it to the knowledge of the committee, the meeting resolved.

Responding to the decisions taken at the meeting, Ms Joy said the members who are going to be elected to the GPs should be told about the reasons for landslides and preventive steps taken.

Assistant Conservator of Forest Nilesh Shinde gave an overview of the works taken up by the Forest Department in Brahmagiri Hills. The recharge pits are among the works carried out by the Forest Department.

The Deputy Commissioner told the authorities to take steps for closing all recharge pits by next monsoon since they are being blamed for the landslides.

The RDPR authorities were told to prepare a list of GPs which faced the problem of landslides. Works should be carried out cautiously in villages coming under those GP limits, the meeting decided.

PWD Executive Engineer Madan Mohan said a tender process had been initiated for the work on building barriers along the road leading to Talacauvery in Gajaribetta. Administrative approval for the โ‚น75 lakh work had been given, he added.

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