In the tribal district of Lahaul Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, Lindur village has been experiencing significant land subsidence over the past four months. So far, 16 houses have developed cracks, with 9 buildings suffering major damage.
The ongoing increase in cracks has created fear among the villagers. Moreover, given the rise in heavy rains and natural disasters in the Lahaul Spiti district over the past two to three years, villagers and experts are attributing this land subsidence to climate change. In light of these concerns, residents and experts are urging comprehensive research to understand the ecological shifts in the region.
As reported by Down to Earth, in July this year, the Lahaul-Spiti district broke a 72-year record for rainfall. The district received 112.2 mm of rainfall on July 9, 2023, which is 3640 per cent more than the normal rainfall of 3 mm expected on that day. The rainfall on July 9 was equivalent to the total rainfall usually received in the entire month of July. The previous 24-hour rainfall record in Lahaul Spiti was 73 mm, set in 1951.
Rahul Kumar, the District Deputy Commissioner of Lahaul-Spiti, has stated that experts from IIT Mandi and NHPC are conducting surveys to investigate the causes of cracks and landslides in Lindur village and its surrounding areas.
The experts have visited the site several times, and we are awaiting their final report. Additionally, we are making efforts to channel the drain adjacent to the village.
Nine out of the twelve houses in the village have developed cracks, and there are fissures in around 200 bighas of land, including agricultural land and pastures in and around Lindur. Most of the houses have two or more storeys.
Cracks and landslides in Lindur: survey by experts
In addition to this, the administration is also in touch with other geologists for an independent investigation in Lindur. Compensation of Rs 1 lakh each has been given to many people whose houses were damaged due to the cracks. A proposal to channel the Jahlama Nullah for Rs 120 crore has also been sent to the state government to prevent land erosion caused by annual flooding.
Given the increasing incidents of landslides and natural disasters in the area, residents of Lindur, Jasrath, Jobrang, Junda, Tadag, and Phuda villages have called for comprehensive research on the ecological changes in the area.
Dr. Sunil Dhar, Professor of the Environment Department at the Central University of Jammu, pointed out that environmental changes have significantly affected rainfall patterns, leading to excessive rainfall and increasing incidents of landslides. He noted that the Lahaul Spiti district, which typically receives low rainfall, is now experiencing more rainfall, leading to increased damage from landslides.
A research paper published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing highlighted that the size of the glacier lake formed due to the melting of glaciers in the Lahaul region has been rapidly increasing since 2014. This poses a risk of massive destruction due to potential glacier lake outbursts in the area.
Notably, the bursting of Glacier Lake in the Jahalma drain caused significant damage during this year’s and last year’s rains, even disrupting the flow of the Chenab River due to flood debris in the drain.
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