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Land Subsidence in India: Causes and Effects in Focus.



  May 02, 2024

Land Subsidence in India: Causes and Effects in Focus.



What is land subsidence?

Land subsidence is the gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth's surface owing to subsurface movement of earth materials. It can be caused by natural processes such as the consolidation of soil or by human activities such as the extraction of underground water.

What are the primary causes of land subsidence in India?

In India, the primary causes of land subsidence include:

Excessive groundwater extraction: This is the most common cause, where water is pumped out from the earth, leading to a decrease in ground support.

Soil compaction: Overburden from urban development and heavy machinery can compress soil layers, reducing their volume and causing subsidence.

Natural geological processes: Movements within the Earth, such as the settling of soil over time or tectonic activities, can also lead to subsidence.

How has land subsidence affected Joshimath?

In Joshimath, land subsidence has caused significant damage to infrastructure, including homes, roads, and public utilities. The main contributing factors are believed to be the construction-related activities, such as tunneling for hydroelectric projects and road construction, which have destabilized the already fragile mountainous terrain.

What are the consequences of land subsidence?

Land subsidence can lead to a variety of consequences, including:

Infrastructure damage: Sinking land can destroy buildings, crack roads, and break pipelines.

Increased flood risk: As land subsides, it becomes more prone to flooding, especially in low-lying areas.

Agricultural impact: Subsidence can affect irrigation and reduce land usability, impacting crop yields and farmers' livelihoods.

What measures is the Indian government taking to address land subsidence?

The Indian government has initiated several measures to tackle the problem of land subsidence:


Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY): A scheme aimed at sustainable development of the fisheries sector, indirectly supporting water conservation measures.

Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal): This program focuses on improving groundwater management through community participation.

National Aquifer Mapping and Management Program (NAQUIM): It aims to map aquifers to better manage water resources.

Infrastructure regulations and monitoring: Ensuring that construction projects undergo environmental impact assessments and adhere to stricter building codes to prevent exacerbation of subsidence.

What can individuals do to help mitigate land subsidence?

Individuals can contribute to mitigating land subsidence by:

Conserving water: Reducing groundwater usage by adopting water-saving techniques and supporting rainwater harvesting.

Supporting sustainable practices: Advocating for and participating in sustainable land and water management practices.

Community involvement: Engaging in community efforts to monitor and address local subsidence issues.

Land subsidence is a serious issue that requires both individual and collective action to manage and prevent its damaging effects effectively. Awareness and proactive measures are key to safeguarding affected regions and preventing future occurrences.

Ramban

Ramban, a district in Jammu and Kashmir, is increasingly grappling with the issue of land subsidence. This geological phenomenon in Ramban is primarily caused by a combination of natural and human-induced factors. The region's geology, marked by fragile, sedimentary rock formations and steep slopes, naturally predisposes it to subsidence, especially under external stresses.

Human activities have exacerbated these conditions significantly. Large-scale infrastructure projects, such as road expansions, tunneling for hydroelectric projects, and construction activities related to the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, disturb the delicate geological balance. These activities often involve heavy excavation, which destabilizes the soil and underlying rock structures.

The consequences of land subsidence in Ramban are severe. It has led to the destruction of homes and public infrastructure, creating displacement and safety hazards for residents. Roads and bridges have become prone to sudden collapses, disrupting connectivity and posing risks to life and property. The economic impact is also notable, as damage to infrastructure necessitates costly repairs and diverts resources from other developmental needs. Moreover, the agricultural lands suffer from reduced usability, affecting local livelihoods and leading to economic strain in a region heavily dependent on agriculture


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