Why India is years away from building a robust landslide forecast system

Many countries across the world have tasted success with landslide forecast systems. But a late start and inadequate funds have hobbled the efforts of Indian scientists.

Every time there’s a major landslide, the same old script plays out.

R.K. Bhandari, a pioneer of landslide studies in India, mentioned this in a piece he wrote for the Indian National Academy of Engineering a few years ago. The gist of it ran thus: Politicians mourn the loss of lives, the government announces compensation for victims, a minister says they’re personally monitoring the situation. An investigation is ordered, experts are packed off to inspect the spot, and promises are made to act on their recommendations.

This happened once again in Maharashtra last week, after a landslide buried the entire …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

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