MANDI (Himachal Pradesh): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reviewed here the Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning System, a unique device that predicts landslides about 10 minutes in advance and sends out alerts, thus helping avert tragedies.
Developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, the device is said to be the only of its kind system in the world, according to a press release issued by the institute.
The Prime Minister was on a visit to Mandi to inaugurate a number of projects.
The device, which is a low-cost alternative to conventionally-used monitoring systems, has been developed by Dr Varun Dutt, Associate Professor, School of Computing and Electrical Engineering, and Dr K. V. Uday, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, it said.
The Landslide Monitoring System provides soil movement alerts via hooters and blinkers installed on the road remotely via text message, it said.
Additionally, the system sends rainfall alerts in advance if more than 5 mm of rain is predicted, according to the institute.
“Landslides are predicted 10 minutes before they actually occur by monitoring changes in soil movement,” the release said.
“The system also predicts extreme weather events with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning,” it added.
The prototypical device was first deployed in July-August 2017, at an active landslide area on the Gharpa hill near IIT Mandi’s Kamand campus, the release said.
The efficacy of the device was judged on July 27, 2018, when a tragedy was averted at Kutropi along the Mandi–Joginder Nagar National Highway amidst rains and a flash floods, it said.
“The system issued a warning minutes before the disaster. Police stopped traffic before the flash flood to avoid a big disaster from occurring.
The road was washed away due to the flash flood, but no one on the road was affected due to the timely warning,” the institute said.
Until now, 18 systems have been deployed in Mandi district apart from three systems in Balianala (Nainital district), Uttrakhand; three at Dharampur along the Kalka – Shimla track of the Indian Railways, and, three systems at Sirmaur district, Himachal Pradesh.
Several other deployments are in the pipeline in several districts in HP and Maharashtra.
The landslide monitoring system is low-cost compared to conventional monitoring systems.
The selling price of the system with its sensors and alerting mechanism is about Rs one lakh, which is nearly 200 times lower than a conventional counterpart that runs into crores of rupees.
It may be noted here that landslides are the third biggest natural disasters in the world, with India experiencing the biggest bulk of them.
At least 15% of India is prone to landslides.
More than 5,000 people are buried alive under landslides costing the economic losses of more than INR 26,000 crores suffered every year globally.