Berhampur (Odisha), Feb 11 (PTI) The Odisha government is planning to set up a user-friendly landslide early warning system (EWS) in Gajapati district as a proactive measure, officials said on Sunday.
A team of seven experts from Coimbatore-based Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s World Centre of Excellence on Landslide recently visited landslide-prone Gajapati district to conduct a comprehensive study on the causes of landslides and potential mitigation measures, including setting up a user-friendly landslide EWS.
During their two-day field visit, the expert team surveyed the most vulnerable areas for landslides, including Baraghara and Madha in Rayagada block of the district.
The district administration has identified 139 sites highly susceptible to landslides across six blocks in the southern Odisha district.
The experts conducted assessments on various factors such as topography, landscape pattern, soil textures, vegetation, slope percentage, rainfall trends, rock types, agriculture patterns, and the location of water bodies.
Led by Maneesha V Ramesh, provost of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and director of Amrita Centre for Wireless Networks and Applications, the team visited the district at the request of the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), officials said.
Discussions were also held with Gajapati collector Smruti Ranjan Pradhan regarding the issue.
Pradhan emphasised that landslides pose a significant threat to life and livelihoods in the district, necessitating a participatory and sustainable approach to its management, they added.
Gajapati, situated on the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, has been identified as one of the landslide-prone districts in the state.
Severe cyclone Titli in October 2018 triggered massive landslides in the district, resulting in the destruction of 20 villages and claiming at least 48 lives. Substantial damage to houses led to the displacement of around 9,100 families.
Amrita University has been at the forefront of initiatives in landslide detection and early warning systems, an official said.
Their deployment of the world’s first wireless sensor network system, later upgraded to an artificial intelligence-integrated Internet of Things (IoT) system, has been instrumental in detecting and forewarning landslides in the Western Ghats and the Himalayas, two major global landslide hotspots, the official added. PTI COR BBM BBM MNB