Gangtok gets advanced landslide warning system

Report by: 
SUJAL PRADHAN
Gangtok
26 Sep 2018

Sikkim on Wednesday was the first state in the north-east region to get the sensors-based advance landslide warning system. The system was installed at Chandmari near Gangtok which is a prominent landslide-prone spot. The installation of the system has come soon after North Sikkim has recovered from disruptions suffered in multiple landslides following heavy rains. People had to be evacuated in helicopters.
The new warning system using artificial intelligence has the potential to cover the entire state with multiple deployments of sophisticated sensors. Sikkim has 4,895 sq kms of landslide-prone area with 3,638 sq km of it being occupied by human settlements, roads and other infrastructure.
The system was installed with an Initiative of the Sikkim Disaster Management Authority. The in situ wireless sensors-based system has been developed by scientists of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University) which is headquartered in Coimbatore. The project was co-funded by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. “This real-world IoT (Internet of Things) system for effective landslide early warning consists of over 200 sensors in around 150 acres of land that can measure geophysical and hydrological parameters like rainfall, pore pressure and seismic activity. The installed sensors at Chandmari send signals at laboratory in headquarters,” informed Sikkim Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department Additional Director G. C. Khanal.
He said the in-situ wireless sensors-based system was considered much more accurate than the rainfall threshold model used worldwide. The new system could issue landslide warnings 24 hours in advance. The first such system was deployed by the University in Western Ghats in Kerala's Munnar district in 2009. The success of this system prompted the authorities to choose Sikkim as the second place for the installation of the system.