Prognosis and mitigation strategy for major landslide-prone areas A case study of Varunavat Parvat landslide in Uttarkashi township of Uttarakhand (India)
DPM 17,5 622 Disaster Prevention and Management Vol. 17 No. 5, 2008 pp. 622-644 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0965-3562 DOI 10.1108/09653560810918649 The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0965-3562.htm Prognosis and mitigation strategy for major landslide-prone areas A case study of Varunavat Parvat landslide in Uttarkashi township of Uttarakhand (India) Aniruddh Uniyal Remote Sensing Applications Centre-UP, Jankipuram, Lucknow, India Abstract Purpose – The aim of this paper is to present a discussion on prognosis and mitigation of major landslide zones in an attempt to minimize the impact of such disasters in future. A case study on the sequence of sliding events of Varunavat Parvat, Uttarkashi (India), response of masses and administration and causative factors of sliding events has been presented in detail for prognosis and mitigation of large slide zones. Design/methodology/approach – The prognosis and mitigation strategy discussed is based on the monitoring of mass wasting zones through field investigations and satellite image analysis (of pre- and post-landslide period images) and experiential learning and interaction with village elders in landslide hazard-prone Himalayan terrain. Findings – The paper finds that Himalayan habitations such as Uttarkashi (which is situated in an area of fragile rocks, complex tectonics, seismic activity and cloud burst-prone unstable hill slopes with colluvium and old slide zones) should have minimum anthropogenic activity in the form of slope cutting for road or building construction. Research limitations/implications – The paper reflects the author’s individual understanding of causative factors and indications of landslides in Varunavat Parvat area in Uttarkashi township of Uttarakhand (India). Originality/value – The paper calls for amalgamation of experience-based local knowledge of villagers of landslide-prone areas and modern scientific and technical know-how and above all the coordinated efforts of community and authorities for prognosis and mitigation of large-scale landslides in the inhabited areas. It has been further emphasized that sensitization and awareness programs and strict implementation of land-use regulations are vital components of effective mitigation strategy. Keywords Landslides, India Paper type Research paper The author dedicates this article to his mother-in-law, the late Mrs Meena Dobhal. The author is thankful to Dr A.N. Singh Director RSAC-UP and Mr P.N. Shah, Head ERD, RSAC-UP for allowing the use of facilities at RSAC-UP, Lucknow to carry out the Image Interpretation and GIS work. He is also thankful to Dr A.K. Tangri, P.I. Himalayan Glaciology Programme, RSAC-UP; Professor C. Prasad, Head (Retd.) HNBG, Srinagar, Garhwal and Mr Meghraj of RSAC-UP, Lucknow for valuable suggestions. He acknowledges the support and cooperation from Department of Disaster Management, Govt of Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand) and district administration Uttarkashi during the course of field study. Thanks are also extended to Professor R.C. Lakhera and Dr Vinod Kumar of N.R.S.A, Department of Space, Government of India and Mr Ramchandra of RSAC-UP for their cooperation. He also thanks Nidhi, Prabuddha and Pranayak for encouragement and support.