Developmental Activities and Rampant hill cutting are main reasons for landslides in Srinagar-Jammu Highway

Kashmir Magazine

The Srinagar-Jammu highway, the only surface link between Kashmir and rest of the world, remained closed due to cumbersomely hefty landslides, cause thousands of passengers and vehicles to get stuck on the road.

A landslide or landslip are a natural disaster, something which is haplessly ineluctable. Landslides can vary in size but customarily they always involve an astronomically immense ground kineticism. This can be things such as debris and rock failing.

All inculpating the natural calamities for the closure of the road. But the main reason for the closure of the road is the unscientific cutting of the Pir-Panchal range and the vibrations of the heftily ponderous machines, which were utilized for constructing incipient road widening in Jammu-Srinagar highway.Because it alters the pressure within the slope, which leads to slope instability and cause the landslide to occur.Development is good but not always, we have to pay for it when it occurs unscientifically, it causes quandaries and results are disastrous for all.

Pir-Panchal range is geo-morphologically different from the rest of the district ranges as it is a plateau. This geomorphic unit, together with the prevalence of tropical climate, sanctions the formation of a thick column of soil. The second-most consequential conditioning factor in this range is the steep slope. Slopes at a 15-degree angle are prone to landslides. As the slope angle increases, the accentuate on the soil or other unconsolidated material inclines to increment, and such areas will optically discern a high frequency of landslides.

All we know and seen most of the hills are rocky and barren type in Jammu Srinagar highway and any disturbance natural or anthropogenic wreaks havoc in this region.The utilization heftily ponderous machines were habituated to cut down these hills and its vibrations loosen the soils from these hills. Due to hill cutting steep slopes develop which gradually widen fractures on the hills. Following cumbersomely hefty downpour water is accumulated in those fractures causing sudden landslides.The soil and stones in the hills are not firmly affixed to each other, when some components of a hill are cut down, the joint of stones and soil in the hill are disunited from one another and subsequently collapse when there is a heftily ponderous downpour.The vibrations from heftily ponderous equipment and other natural factors decreases shear strength of the hills and landslides are more prone to occur.
From last few years, the landslides incidents incremented in Pir-Panchal range especially in Jammu Srinagar highway, as in these years the construction and widening of the highway and tunnels are on the elevate. The Jammu Srinagar highway is slide-prone areas and perpetual kineticism of vehicular traffic both cumbersomely hefty and minute causes vibrations which become another cause of landslides to occur in these regions.

In general, the factors influencing landslides are classified as conditioning and triggering factors conditioning factors usually have to do with the terrain, such as the soil, geology, land use, drainage, groundwater, etc. Triggering factors are the direct causes of landslides – rainfall, earthquakes and anthropogenic activities. Most landslides occurred due to unscientific construction in these regions. Human causes include water leakage from utilities, excavation of slope or its tow, loading of slope or its crest, the drawdown of reservoirs, irrigation, mining, artificial vibration, and deforestation.

The simplest way to reduce the consequences of a hazard is to avoid developing in hazard prone areas. However this is not always possible, so risk reduction and mitigation measures may be required to lessen the severity of a disaster due to landslide hazard.Landslide mitigation refers to several man-made activities on slopes with the goal of lessening the effect of landslides. Landslides can be triggered by many, sometimes concomitant causes. In addition to shallow erosion or reduction of shear strength caused by seasonal rainfall, landslides may be triggered by anthropic activities, such as adding excessive weight above the slope, digging at mid-slope or at the foot of the slope. Often, individual phenomenon joins together to generate instability over time, which often does not allow a reconstruction of the evolution of a particular landslide. Therefore, landslide hazard mitigation measures are not generally classified according to the phenomenon that might cause a landslide. Instead, they are classified by the sort of slope stabilization method used:
• Afforestation:Afforestation programme should be taken up immediately in the hills, as trees has the capacity to attach the soils firmly together, which reduces the chances of landslides in these regions.
• Geometric methods, in which the geometry of the hillside is changed (in general the slope);
• Hydrogeological methods, in which an attempt is made to lower the groundwater level or to reduce the water content of the material.
• Proper drainage facilities in these regions is another way to reduce the chances of landslides.
• Chemical and mechanical methods, in which attempts are made to increase the shear strength of the unstable mass or to introduce active external forces (e.g. anchors, rock or ground nailing) or passive (e.g. structural wells, piles or reinforced ground) to counteract the destabilizing forces.
• Establishment of Local monitoring and emergency response system.
• Education and awareness about the impact of landslides. Each of these methods varies somewhat with the type of material that makes up the slope.