Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reviewed the landslide monitoring and early warning system developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi during his visit to Himachal Pradesh.
As per IIT Mandi, “The device reduces landslides by predicting the soil movement in advance and is the only of its kind system in the world.”
Dr Varun Dutt, Associate Professor, School of Computing and Electrical Engineering, and Dr KV Uday, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering developed the device that is a low-cost alternative to conventionally used monitoring systems.
The Landslide Monitoring System provides soil movement alerts via hooters and blinkers installed on the road remotely via text message. Additionally, the system sends rainfall alerts in advance if more than 5 mm of rain is predicted.
Landslides are predicted 10 minutes before they actually occur by monitoring changes in soil movement. The system also predicts extreme weather events with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
On July 27, 2018, a tragedy was averted at Kutropi along the Mandi-Joginder Nagar National Highway due to rains and a flash flood by the system. 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 first field deployment was at Kotropi Landslide in 2018 with support from the District Administration at Mandi.
Until now, 18 systems have been deployed in Mandi district apart from three systems in Balianala (Nainital district), Uttarakhand; 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 Himachal Pradesh 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.
Landslides are the third biggest natural disaster in the world, with India experiencing the biggest bulk of them – 15 per cent 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.