BENGALURU: Engineering errors were behind the landslides that occurred in the state, said the expert committee appointed by the state government to study the reasons for the calamity. It stressed that henceforth, any land-use projects to be executed in the state, especially in the Western Ghats, must be approved by the Disaster Management Authority and they should prepare a disaster management plan.
The report, Landslides in Western Ghats and Coastal Karnataka: Prevention and Mitigation Strategies, was submitted to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday. It was presented by Karnataka Biodiversity Board Chairman Anant Hegde Aashisara, who is also chairman of the expert committee.
Prof T V Ramachandra from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, who was also part of the committee, said that the landslides in Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru could happen in other places also, including Kali Tiger Reserve where many eco- tourism properties and resorts were coming up.
The committee visited Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga, Kodagu, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi from July to August to check the ground situation and prepare the report. The committee also identified 23 landslide-prone taluks in the state.
The committee observed that stream and river network plans should be re-looked at. It also recommended that preliminary and detailed geological investigations were essential with geo-technical investigations of infrastructure projects to ensure there were no landslides in vulnerable zones. The committee also suggested that the government bring suitable amendments to the Karnataka Land Grants Rules, 1969, regarding granting land for agricultural purposes in landslide prone areas.
The committee recommended the extension of the landslide project of the Geological Survey of India to Karnataka. The project, which is being carried out with the British Geological Survey, aims to develop an early warning system for landslides.