The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has prepared a pilot project on reducing the Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) risk in Lhonak and Shako Cho Lakes in the north of Sikkim at a cost of Rs 20.24 crore.
The Union Home Ministry has informed a Parliamentary standing committee that the Sikkim government is presently being consulted for implementing the same.
“The development and installation of monitoring and early warning systems are also a part of the aforesaid pilot project. The outcomes of the pilot project will be replicated in other concerned Himalayan States and UTs through a comprehensive GLOFs mitigation project,” the home ministry said in a report.
The Parliamentary committee, headed by Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, notes that monitoring of GLOFs requires a network of meteorological and hydrological stations, early warning the system comprising of remote Automatic Water Level Recorder (AWLR) or Monitoring Stations and Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) with the ability to communicate and transmit data from remote stations to the control room etc., for operation and monitoring in real-time data on air temperature, precipitation and river discharge through telemetry (V-SAT).
The committee also viewed that data collected and expertise acquired from the pilot project on reducing the glacial lake outburst flood risk in Lhonak and Shako Cho Lakes of North District of Sikkim would be replicated in other projects in the areas with similar topography and facing similar risk from glacial lake outburst floods.
In view of the recent severe glacial outburst at Chamoli in Uttarakhand, the committee recommends that for ensuring the safety of the people of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, a network of meteorological and hydrological stations, monitoring stations and weather stations be set up at the earliest.
The committee, also recommends that an urgent assessment needs to be made and organisations like the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, may also be tasked to conduct glaciological studies and prepare glacial lakes inventory for the Himalayan region using remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS).
Besides, the concerned states should be sensitised by the MHA to place adequate early warning mechanisms in every district so that vulnerable communities can be alerted in the wake of any disaster in future, the committee said.