Marangching tragedy: Is it Human error, or negligence?

Marangching tragedy: Is it Human error, or negligence?

Written By: / Editorial / Tuesday, 05 July 2022 17:05

Rescue teams of both the center and the state government still continue to search for dead bodies if any, in Marangching area of Noney district where a massive landslide occurred on June 30 has caused the worst tragedy in the history of Manipur. As per report death toll has risen to 47 and officials and volunteers on the rescue mission are on the hunt for 15 more. The number may rise. It is indeed no time to discuss the cause of the tragedy, as tears of thousands still wet the eyes of the near and dear ones of the victims. Those who survive are still in trauma while recounting the horror that occurred on that ill-fated days. The majority of the victims of the landslide are from the Territorial Army and the Assam Rifles, and people have reason to rethink what went wrong and why mother earth turn violent and took so many precious lives.
The tragedy occurred on June 30 and on the July 2 edition of this newspaper, we in the Imphal Times extended our gratitude to the immediate and timely response of the state government as well as the central government. The tireless and nonstop operation to rescue survivors and recover dead bodies by both the state and central security forces, and civilians, among others, showed that the human instinct still exists. With the kind of effort by the authorities carrying out rescue missions cum search operations for the dead bodies, the people of the nation have reason to believe that – those who died or rescued will be given with highest dignity and honours. Well, the question right at the moment is – completion of the search for dead bodies and rescuing of those survivors will close the chapter of the Marangching tragedy. This is being raised as the site where the massive landslide that killed many and injured a dozen others is a place where tunneling and construction of big buildings for the Indian railway project are taking place. Its today the seventh day, that the tragedy occurred and neither the authority of the central government as well as nor the State government had ever started taking the initiative to constitute an enquiry commission to find the cause of the landslide. Landslides or any other natural disaster are often left thinking or considered an act of God. However, it is much for testing soil or examining the condition of the area before taking up construction of any developmental infrastructures. It was because of the constructions taking place for the Indian Railway that the large number of Security Forces belonging to the Territorial Army and the Assam Rifles had been posted at the side and died at the spot.
If the report appeared at certain sections of newspapers, where experts from the Remote Sensing Department stated that the area where the landslide occurred in Noney district is near the epicenter of the 2016 earthquake. As per the news report, the expert was quoted as stating that there are two big hollows under the earth crushed in that area and such sinking of a large portion is expected and may happen at any time. In another news report that appeared today in Sanaleibak newspaper, a retired professor of the Earth Science department of the Manipur University was quoted as stating that the reason for the cause of the massive landslide was due to unscientific construction works taking place at the site without using the proper scientific methods. The soil nature of the area has also been explained and the need for extra care in the construction works was described in a scientific way by the former professor. Both this news explains some human error as the cause of the June 30 horror. In this case, an enquiry is a must to find out if the two news reports are authentic or not.
Landslides or mudslides occurred in the state many times, particularly during the rainy season. In India, 13% of the land mass is prone to landslides, particularly in the Himalayas and the Western Ghats.
But then there is a Landslide Early Warning System (LEWS) working in progress in the country. In December last year, the central government told the parliament that the system was being evaluated and tested by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in two pilot areas – Darjeeling (WB) and Nilgiris (TN). The GSI has been banking on the multi-consortium Landslip project, which aims to improve landslide risk assessment and reliability of forecasts on the basis of which alerts are issued.
Now the question again is had the LEWS been used in digging tunnels and also in making the roads and other constructions at Hill areas in the state of Manipur while taking up the railway project or any other development project. If LEWS is still waiting for official purposes scientific diagnosis of the land should be properly conducted. If not, then those responsible for conducting the land diagnosis before starting construction should be liable for the loss of the brave hearts in Marangching tragedy.

About the Author

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 25+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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