Whats behind the pre-monsoon floods and landslides in Assam

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Whats behind the pre-monsoon floods and landslides in Assam

  • Despite the monsoon yet to be arrived, the state of Assam is facing a very devastating flood and a series of landslide episodes
  • The recent floods and landslides that have left 15 people dead and more than 7 lakh affected.
  • Road and rail links were cut off as heavy rain and flooding with landslides continued to wreak havoc in Assam.
  • The worst affect districts include, Cachar, Dima Hasao, Hojai, Charaideo, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Bajali, Baksa, Biswanath and Lakhimpur.

What is behind this unprecedented devastation?

  • Extraordinarily acute pre-monsoon rains.
  • The average rainfall for the period of March 1 to May 20 in Assam is 434.5 mm (65 percentt excess)
  • Meghalaya has recorded an even greater excess: of 137 percent.
  • Climate change resulting in more and more concentrated rain and heavy rainfall episodes
  • Increasing concern as there may be little respite between the recession of this pre-monsoonal flood and the advent of the first monsoonal flood surge, especially in Assam
  • Several episodes of landslides, especially in south Assam’s Dima Hasao and Cachar districts have further intensified the devastation.

But what is causing these landslides?

  • Expansion of Lumding-Badarpur railway line: The expansion work which began in 1997, was marred by several red flags and faced accusations of it having flouted safety norms.
  • Unplanned infrastructure development: Dima Hasao say that the district has seen hectic construction, both of public infrastructures like roads and private property, in recent times.
  • Unchecked Deforestation: Over the years, there has not only been massive deforestation for the extension of the railway line and the four-line highway.
  • Illegal Riverbed Mining: there has also been rampant riverbed mining often done in collusion with the district authorities.

Suggestive Measures

  • Construction needed to be "tuned to the ecological fragility of the region"
  • Keeping “traditional knowledge systems in mind” and involving the local community to build “sustainable infrastructure”.

Exam track

Prelims Takeaway

  • Location based questions