Kangra Signs Up IIT Mandi For Landslide Warning Systems

Mandi: Indian Institute of Technology Mandi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the District Disaster Management Authority Kangra on Monday, 31st January 2022. The MoU is for the duration of five years, and both parties can extend it upon mutual discussion.

The purpose of the MoU is to develop and deploy 10 Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (EWS) at certain sites based upon site visits and analysis of these sites as per InSAR- based analysis and in confirmation with the District Administration. This will also help in development of machine learning approaches for predicting InSAR-based and EWS-based outcomes for generating prediction-based warnings.

In December,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi did review the Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning System during his visit to Mandi. Rajendra Arlekar, Governor Himachal Pradesh, also visited IIT Mandi for a discussion on Landslide Risk Management and assured that the association between IIT Mandi and the Himachal Pradesh Government will play a pivotal role in preventing landslides in the state.

The MoU was signed between Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, and Dr. Nipun Jindal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, District Kangra, in the presence of Dr. Kala Venkata Kala, Assistant Professor, IIT Mandi and Shri Rohit Rathour, HAS, Additional District Magistrate, Kangra, and other dignitaries.

Speaking about the MoU, Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, said, “Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi has a mission to solve problems of society. I am very happy to note that this project is a unique example of IIT Mandi mission to help address problems of Himachal Pradesh (landslides) while working with the District Disaster Management Authority Kangra.

Roles and responsibilities:

  • · IIT Mandi, shall be responsible for all deployment aspects of the EWS’, such as monitoring movement and weather parameters at deployment sites and generating warnings at the site with hooters and blinkers where possible
  • · IIT Mandi, shall be responsible for the generation of alerts through text messages where possible
  • · IIT Mandi will provide faculty, staff, and lab resources for research regarding the EWS’ and may use data from the deployed systems for research purposes
  • · DDMA shall be responsible for providing funds for the development, deployment, and maintenance of the deployed EWS’, as well as for other heads marked in the project
  • · DDMA shall be responsible for proofing EWS’ against theft by fixing them on the ground via cement-/concrete-based pedestals
  • · DDMA shall be responsible for providing the relevant stakeholders for receiving alerts corresponding to each location

The objective of the MoU is manpower recruitment and finalization of sites as per InSAR- based images for Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (EWS). The Institute will be required to Install two systems in the selected locations over the next three months starting from the day the project is initiated. In the next phase, the Institute will be required to install four more systems, preferably before the monsoons, and to finalize threshold algorithms based on initial data acquisition. It will also fine-tune any site-specific requirements for the systems including power, sensing parameters, data, and alerting requirements.

Dr. Nipun Jindal, DC Kangra, expressed his happiness to collaborate with IIT Mandi in Landslide Early Warning system that will be deployed in the Kangra district. He mentioned, “It will help to reduce the lives lost due to landslides. The early warning will also enable the DDMA to prepare better and be ready with mitigations.”

Site locations shall be confirmed based on-site historical evidence, initiation of slides or falls, and other locations as per satellite imaging, which shall be confirmed after site visits by representatives of both parties and further approval from district administration. All the deployed systems will be maintained for five years from date of installation as per the project terms. Any further maintenance will require funds as communicated by concerned agencies at the time.

A senior journalist who has spent more than a decade in the profession, working for Amar Ujala and Aapka Faisla.

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