IIT Mandi signs MoU with District Disaster Management Authority Kangra for landslide early warning systems

Institute to deploy 10 Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning Systems based on satellite imaging and site visits

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Roop Lal Kaundal

Mandi, 1st Feb

Indian Institute of Technology Mandi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the District Disaster Management Authority Kangra on Monday, 31st January 2022 for a duration of five years. The purpose of the MoU is to develop and deploy 10 Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (EWS) at certain sites based upon site visits and analysis as per InSAR- based analysis and in confirmation with the District Administration. This will also help in development of machine learning approaches for predicting InSAR-based and EWS-based outcomes for generating prediction-based warnings of landslides.

Prior to this, Rajendra Arlekar, Governor of Himachal Pradesh, had visited IIT Mandi for a discussion on Landslide Risk Management and assured that the association between IIT Mandi and the Himachal Pradesh Government will play a pivotal role in preventing landslides in the state.

The MoU was signed between Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, and Dr. Nipun Jindal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, District Kangra, in the presence of Dr. Kala Venkata Kala, Assistant Professor, IIT Mandi and Rohit Rathour, HAS, Additional District Magistrate, Kangra, and other dignitaries.

Speaking about the MoU, Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, said, “Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi has a mission to solve problems of society. I am very happy to note that this project is a unique example of IIT Mandi mission to help address problems of Himachal Pradesh (landslides) while working with the District Disaster Management Authority Kangra.

He said that IIT Mandi, shall be responsible for all deployment aspects of the EWS’, such as monitoring movement and weather parameters at deployment sites and generating warnings at the site with hooters and blinkers where possible. Adding, that IIT Mandi, shall be responsible for the generation of alerts through text messages where possible. The Institute will also provide faculty, staff, and lab resources for research regarding the EWS’ and may use data from the deployed systems for research purposes.

He informed that DDMA shall be responsible for providing funds for the development, deployment, and maintenance of the deployed EWS’, as well as for other heads marked in the project. Also DDMA shall be responsible for proofing EWS’ against theft by fixing the system on the ground via cement-/concrete-based pedestals. DDMA shall be responsible for providing the relevant stakeholders for receiving alerts corresponding to each location

The objective of the MoU is manpower recruitment and finalization of sites as per InSAR- based images for Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (EWS). The Institute will be required to Install two systems in the selected locations over the next three months starting from the day the project is initiated. In the next phase, the Institute will be required to install four more systems, preferably before the monsoons, and to finalize threshold algorithms based on initial data acquisition. It will also fine-tune any site-specific requirements for the systems including power, sensing parameters, data, and alerting requirements.

Site locations shall be confirmed based on site historical evidence, initiation of slides or falls, and other locations as per satellite imaging, which shall be confirmed after site visits by representatives of both parties and further approval from district administration. All the deployed systems will be maintained for five years from date of installation as per the project terms. Any further maintenance will require funds as communicated by concerned agencies at the time.

Dr. Nipun Jindal, DC Kangra, expressed his happiness to collaborate with IIT Mandi for Landslide Early Warning system that will be deployed in the Kangra district. He mentioned, “It will help to reduce the lives lost due to landslides. The early warning will also enable the DDMA to prepare better and be ready with mitigations.”

The District Disaster Management Authority Kangra (referred to as “DDMA”), Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, through its authorised official, the Deputy Commissioner as chairman, is the nodal agency responsible for administering the geographical area Kangra district.

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