Around 48 people have been killed and many more injured in a massive landslip that occurred at Kotrupi on the Mandi-Pathankot National Highway near Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh. Landslides are common in India, especially during monsoon months when heavy rain loosens steep hillsides. Himachal Pradesh has been at the receiving end of nature’s fury every year and the best people can do is avoid vulnerable places and stop rampant air cutting and deforestation. As the volume of water increases, so does the pressure on the dams of ice or glacial sediment, called moraine, which hold the lake in place on the side of the mountain. Once that pressure reaches the tipping point, heavy rainfall from a sudden cloudburst, a landslide, or an earthquake can breach the dam, sending a deadly torrent of ice, rock and water. In the watershed areas of countless other Himalayan lakes, India remains woefully unprepared. We still have no mechanism to incorporate good science into policy. Don’t we think there should be serious talk about such scientific issues?
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)