PINDER VALLEY IN DANGER: GSI MUST TAKE ACTION
The monsoons this year have caused massive landslides in the whole of Uttarakhand. It is widely known that Uttarakhand is classified in Seismic Zones IV and V, which means that it is in constant danger of earthquakes. Due to the heavy landslides, many areas have become more vulnerable to seismic activity. Matu has written to the Geological Survey of India (GSI) regarding the Pinder valley in the Chamoli district. The villages around the Pinder River have been the site of many landslides this year and it is of the utmost urgency that this area be surveyed.
It has come to Matu’s knowledge that the extent of devastation caused by the landslide has been seriously underestimated by the administration. It was in this regard that in November 2010, Dinesh Mishra and Vimal Bhai of Matu Jansangathan visited Paithani, Paingad, Sunau, Devalgad, Soona, Tharali, Chepdu, Nandakesari, Ichholi, Hatkalyani, Talaur, Padmalla and several other villages and spoke with the residents of Kothi, Ghaud, Khirkot, Atthu, Boragad, Chaud, Kunnipartha, Milkhet, Sorigad, Savaad, Thermalchoting, Lausriban, Mandoli, Khesbalad, Pinau, Bakh, Harmi, Ulanghra, Tudri, Kotha etc and found that in all of these villages the cultivated land has been lost to landslides. There are cracks in the houses. The roads to villages are broken. The situation is even more delicate. We have provided some examples below.
· From the bridge connecting Paingad village, the landslide in the surrounding mountains is clearly visible.
· The village of Sunau was actually established on top of the ruins of a past landslide. Around 150 years ago, a major landslide wiped out the village. Later people from other areas came and settled down here. This year’s landslides have again put the residents at risk.
· The arable land below and around the prime village of the Suna gram panchayat has been completely damaged by the landslides. All the local water resources like gadheras (streams) and small waterfalls necessary for these villages have been badly hit by landslides as well.
· The arable land from Chauna gadhera to Tharali village and from Sevta gadhera to Baanja tok has been ruined. The path from Magera gadhera to the school has been completely destroyed.
· The agricultural land near the khali gadhera, above the gaushala (Cow- shed) has been hit by a landslide.
· Due to landslides near the Binayak temple of the Gadchyun gadhera, the land close to Kalyani gair has been destroyed and the residential houses put in danger.
· There are landslides all around the Shoding gram sabha
· All around Simar tok at Devsari and near the river, there are landslides. The houses all have cracks in their walls.
· In many places, people are living in tents in the empty village
· At Padmalla, a girl lost her life when her house collapsed. The cow and goat perished with her.
· The condition of the Kunnipartha village is even worse. It needs to be completely rehabilitated.
It has come to our knowledge that the sub- district magistrate has declared the region safe in his report. If this is true, then the report is deliberately misleading. The locals are protesting against this at Dewal block.
Due to the fact that the Devsari HEP is proposed to be built at Dewal and its tunnel is to underpass the villages of Paingad, Sunau, Devalgad, Soona, Tharali, Kunnipartha, Chepdu, Nandkesari, etc, all the way till Paithani, it is necessary in the present conditions to undertake a full geological investigation of these project- affected areas.
To save the Pinder valley from future devastation, it is important to assess the problems and administer the required treatment.
Hence, we demand that the GSI should:
· Send a investigation team to survey the entire valley
· Along with the present condition, the old reports must also be taken stock of in the survey
· The survey must include the peoples’ organizations and the residents of the villages
· One copy of the report must be given to each village
Dhananand DevradiVimal Bhai