High Power Committee

A meeting of the High Power Committee constituted by Hon'ble High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Savita, IFS, Director, Forest Research Institute (FRI) on 20.11.2018 at FRI Dehradun on site visit "to treat the fragile site at Baliyanala, Nainital from further damage". Dr. Savita, during her address said that Nainital township headquarters of Nainital district is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The hills around Nainital are fragile and vulnerable to landslides. It has been reported that half of the area of the township is covered with debris generated by landslide. As a matter of fact, habitation in Nainital started only after 1841 and the township has been repeatedly devastated by landslides since 1867. She remarked that population expanding onto new land and creating neighborhoods, towns, and cities is the primary means by which humans contribute to the occurrence of landslides. Disturbing or changing drainage patterns, destabilizing slopes, and removing vegetation are common human-induced factors which are responsible for causing landslides. It includes oversteepening of slopes by undercutting the bottom and loading the top of a slope in excess of the bearing strength of the soil. However, landslides may also occur in once- stable areas due to other human activities such as irrigation, lawn watering, draining of reservoirs, leaking pipes, and improper excavating or grading on slopes. A committee was constituted for the first time in August 1867 to consider the safety of the hill slopes. The Committee considered drainage improvement as the most important aspect to be dealt with for preventing landslides. After the landslide, that struck on 18 th September, 1880 which killed 151 persons, further erection of buildings, quarrying and digging of terraces or platforms were prohibited on the hill slopes. Cutting and grazing were banned. However, owing to various reasons including a weak geological set-up of the area remained vulnerable to severe landslide. The recent landslide incidences during September 2014 and 2018 at Baliyanala are examples. A report has been prepared following the directive of the Hon'ble High Court of Uttarakhand, Nainital with the mandate to treat the fragile site at Baliyanala from further damage and an objective to find out permanent solution to prevent further damage. The high power committee constituted by the Hon'ble Court visited the affected site and after studying the possible causes of the landslide have suggested suitable measures to address the issue in its report. Dr. K. Luirei, Sr. Scientist WIHG Dehradun, Dr. Satyendra Mittal, Dr. Mahendra Singh, Dr. V.A. Sawant Professors from IIT Roorkee, Sh. M. C. Pandey, Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department, Sh. K. P. Joshi Chief Engineer, Public Works Department, Ms. Nilima Shah, Member Secretary of the committee and many others participated during the High Power Committee Meeting. Meeting ended with vote of thanks!

November 22, 2018
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