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Disaster management strategy for potential slide zones of Kumarkhera in Narendra Nagar township of Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand, India

Disaster management strategy for potential slide zones of Kumarkhera in Narendra Nagar township of Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand, India

combination with its complex geology, physiography, climatic attributes, etc. trigger variety of landslides and mass wasting phenomenon (Naithani et al. 1997). During the recent years increasing number of human settlements and infrastructure facilities in Uttarakhand have become prone to the risk of landslides and flash floods (Uniyal and Rautela, 2005; Uniyal and Prasad, 2006). This paper emphasizes the urgent need for the treatment of the mass wasting zone of Kumarkhera on priority basis as this is causing a potential threat to a population of about 450 in Kumarkhera area of Narendra Nagar township, on Rishikesh-Gangotri National Highway. The area Kumarkhera is situated on Rishikesh-Gangotri National Highway at a distance of about 62 km (approximately) from Dehradun towards the northeastern extremity of small hill township Narendra Nagar in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand in India (Figure 1, Plates 1-3). The small hamlet town of Narendra Nagar came into existence in 1895, when Maharaja Narendra Shah decided to move his capital from Tehri to a more picturesque locale and the small habitation of Odathali nestled in Lesser Himalaya was chosen not only for its extraordinary scenic beauty, but also for its proximity to the plains below. “Odathali” was a place of historic and mythological significance. It has been known to be a seat of spirituality and meditation since ancient times. According to legend, the sage Udhav is known to have performed severe penance at this spot. Also, Purasar, the founder of astrology, has been known to conduct various experiments on the movements of planets and stars. His observatory has now been converted into the local polytechnic. Once Odathali became the capital of the princely state of Tehri it was named Narendra Nagar after the king (Maharaja Narendra Shah). In the early 1900s, Narendra Nagar became a popular destination with the British Viceroys of the time. The province was eventually merged with the territory of Uttar Pradesh shortly after India gained her independence. Until a few years ago it was the headquarters of the District Tehri Garhwal, but now the New Tehri Town is the headquarter (www.anandaspa. com/LocationInfo/narendrangr.asp). Disaster management strategy 359 Figure 1. Location map of study area

DPM 19,3 360 Plate 1. A satellite view of Kumarkhera area. Rishikesh – Gangotri National Highway passing through Narendra Nagar, Kumarkhera and further north is also seen Plate 2. A satellite view of Kumarkhera area. Small drains flowing across old slide zone in the upslope of Kumarkhera are seen in the eastern part of the image The area under investigation has a moderate climate throughout the year. The ambient temperatures are pleasant throughout the year except during a brief period in winter (December 15 to January 15) when it drops to 68C (43 degree fahrenheit) at night. Located at an altitude of 3,000ft (1,000m), the invigorating ozone rich air is perfumed by wild flower blossoms (www. nandaspa.com/LocationInfo/narendrangr.asp).