The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi has successfully developed a low-cost landslide monitoring and warning system against landslide disasters, which are a common problem in the Himalayan mountain belt.
Every year, on an average, about 200 lives are lost due to landslides in India and Rs 550 crores are spent to cover damages to infrastructure.
The problem is complicated by the fact that existing landslide monitoring and warning technologies cost crores of rupees, questioning their large-scale deployments over a wide geographical area.
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Explaining the same, Professor Varun Dutt, School of Computing and Electrical Engineering at IIT Mandi said:
"To address the problem of landslides and to reduce the cost of sensing these disasters, a faculty-student group named iIoTs, incubated by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi's technology incubator, Catalyst, has developed an indigenously built low-cost landslide monitoring and warning technology."
Further, Dutt added that "the system, which costs around INR 20,000, can record weather parameters and soil properties."
Professor K V Uday, School of Engineering, IIT Mandi also noted that the system can generate warnings both locally (via blinkers and hooter) and globally (via SMSes) if there are soil movements of different magnitudes in the vicinity of the deployed system.
10 systems in the Mandi district
With support and encouragement from the Mandi district administration, iIoTs recently deployed 10 systems in the Mandi district at different landslide sites along the Mandi-Jogindarnagar and Mandi-Kullu highways.
- These 10 systems constitute one of the largest such deployments in India till now
- Each system can monitor soil movement and weather parameters at the deployed locations
- These parameters can be perused online on a website in both tabular and graphical formats
Besides, each system has the capability of intimating population at risk about significant rainfall or soil movement events in their vicinity via SMSes.
More about the landslide monitoring system
The landslide monitoring system detects if there is significant soil movement, so that vehicular road traffic can be alerted by the system using blinkers -- which have been provided along the road wherever possible.
- The blinkers come online for 10-15 seconds with lights and sound each time soil movement is recorded at the deployment site
Recently, at Kutropi, a location that witnessed a massive landslide in the 2017 monsoon season, the system was operational when a massive mud-flow took place damaging the Mandi-Jogindar Nagar highway.
Further, the research behind the system has been supported by grants from Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology, and Environment; Defence Terrain Research Laboratory, DRDO; and National Disaster Management Authority.
Further, this year, the iIoTs group is planning to deploy its systems in Sirmaur and other districts of Himachal Pradesh as well as at other landslide-prone locations in India.
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