Rampant hill-cuttings put Guwahati in danger

Earthquake threats loom large

assam landslide

2 min read


Rampant as well as unscientific hill-cutting  in and around Guwahati has made the city extremely vulnerable to earthquakes.  Ever increasing  anthropogenic  factors are simply compounding the threats on lives of Guwahatians.

According to a study carried out by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) in collaboration with the Assam Engineering College on landslides in Guwahati recently, altogether 366 sites are vulnerable to landslide and 74 per cent of these sites demand immediate attention to prevent loss of human lives and property.

The study points out to the fact that 34 per cent of the 366 vulnerable sites do not have any vegetation cover. This, in turn, results in erosion and rut formation leading to instability of the slope. Further the eroded soil particles tend to block the natural streams and drains downstream.

Academicians have blamed unplanned and unscientific constructions on the hills for these landslides. They have opined that haphazard developmental activity is largely to be blamed for the landslides in the region.

Professor of the Department of Geological Sciences, Gauhati University, Bhagawat Pran Duarah said, “The hills in Arunachal Pradesh and the North East region are parts of the eastern Himalayas, which is very fragile, and unscientific development increases risk of landslides.” Citing an example, he said, natural hill slope has a stable slope but with activities like hill cutting and deforestation it becomes prone to landslides. “In many hills in the region natural streams have been blocked for construction activities, and such activities make the hill unstable and prone to landslides, he added.”

It may be recalled that on July 11 this year, altogether 14 people died in the Papum Pare district in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh due to landslides.

Assam has so far witnessed a total of 19 landslides this year—eight  in the Kamrup Metro district, ten in the Dima Hasao district, and one  in the Lakhimpur district.

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