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GSI surveys landslide-hit area of Darjeeling



The Geological Survey of India (GSI) will come up with a digitised and updated database of landslide-prone zones for West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills where recent landslides claimed around 40 lives, a GSI official said on Saturday.

In the aftermath of the Darjeeling landslides that struck the region earlier this month, two teams of GSI experts are currently surveying two worst-affected zones of Mirik and Kalimpong.

"Four officials divided into two teams have started survey work since Thursday. Initially, they have begun work in and around Mirikh and Kalimpong. The GIS-enabled map will be ready by next year," Saibal Ghosh, superintending geologist and officer-in-charge Geohazards Research and Management Cell, GSI, told a press conference here.

The team will ascertain the category of landslides, the dimension of the landslide, the geology, the geomorphology (study of characteristics, origin, and development of landforms) as well as what triggered them, he said.

The team comprises three officers from Kolkata and one from Sikkim.

Ghosh said the causes of these landslides are mainly natural "because Darjeeling-Sikkim Hills are perennially landslide-prone, but effect of anthropogenic (man-made) interference sometimes aggravates the situation locally at some places".

In addition, the survey will add to the know-how on the relation of rainfall intensity and landslides initiation.

The priority is places where human population is more.

The data collected by them will be fed into a national database as part of the ongoing ‘National Landslide Susceptible Mapping’ programme, he said.

At least 40 lives were lost in the landslides that hit Darjeeling Hills on June 30 late night.