Karnataka Current Affairs – KAS/KPSC Exams- 23rd September 2018

Kodagu devastation aggravated by human interference: Reports

  • Two reports paint a clearer picture of the human interferences that aggravated the devastation in Kodagu district in August.
  • While the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has tabulated 105 landslips in human-habited areas, a team from the World Resources Institute (WRI) used satellite imagery to enumerate at least 254 various landslip instances affecting 1,060 hectares (nearly 10.6 sq km) of land.

Imagery used

  • Using imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites (deployed by the European Commission), Raj Bhagat Palanichamy, a Senior Project Associate at WRI India, and Samrat Basak, Director (Hydrology), WRI, counted the changes in landscapes and the crowns (the area from where soil has slipped) to determine the number and pattern in landslips.
  • Not surprising, nearly four in five landslips are in areas with human habitation.
  • These are concentrated around the twists and turns of the Harangi river as well as major roads that criss-cross the district (as seen in the cluster of land slips close to Madikeri and particularly on the Mandalpatti road).
  • The heavy rainfall caused landslips in forest areas too. But, these landslips are smaller in size than those in anthropogenic areas.
  • Most probably, human-induced land changes have aggravated the situation
  • The course of the Harangi is flanked by high slopes, leading to more landslips, unlike the slopes around the Cauvery or the Lakshmanthirtha in the district, their analysis has found.

Recommendations not followed

  • Independently, GSI recently compiled a 150-page report of 105 landslips.
  • Of this, researchers had visited 85 spots and found that a majority of these are along the lineament (a geological feature which is an expression of faults and fold-aligned hills).
  • While heavy rainfall was the trigger, lack of proper drainage, unscientific slope cutting for agriculture or road works, construction of houses close to slopes or natural streams, as well as geological causes, have been identified as having aggravated the situation.
  • These landslips were also found to be entirely within areas that were marked in GSI’s landslip susceptibility maps in 2014-15.
  • The maps and reports had a list of recommendations involving slope stabilisation along roads and construction measures to ensure high slopes are protected. Most of these had not been followed.

Restrictions needed

  • They have strongly recommended to the State government to have some legal restrictions and regulations in these landslip-prone areas.
  • This is needed to ensure land use is not changed or new constructions are regulated
  • Their investigation has found that in many human-inhabited areas, the landslips had led to a cascading effect.
  • In the rains of August 14, smaller landslips had blocked streams creating a temporary dam.
  • As the rains continued and water accumulated, the dam breached, letting out a torrent of water that flooded houses downstream as well as triggered further landslips.

Karnataka to join Ayushman Bharat

  • The State’s Arogya Karnataka is being co-branded and integrated with the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat, the national health protection scheme, and is all set for a rol out in several States on September 23.
  • With this, the present annual health cover of Rs. 1.5 lakh a year for a BPL family of five with additional assistance of Rs. 50,000 in some cases, will now be enhanced to Rs. 5 lakh a year per family in the State.
  • The decision has been taken after several rounds of negotiations with the Centre.
  • The process of getting into an agreement with Ayushman Bharat has begun and a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed shortly
  • Of the 1.34 crore BPL families in the State, the Centre’s programme will cover only around 62 lakh families, who are currently under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). The remaining 72 lakh families will be covered under Arogya Karnataka.
  • While Arogya Karnataka covers 1,516 procedures, Ayushman Bharat has 1,349 procedures. By integrating them, the total treatment procedures will be 1,628.
  • In fact, Arogya Karnataka’s integration with Ayushman Bharat will mean more expenditure on the State exchequer.
  • The State’s contribution will be two times more than the Centre’s contribution.
  • The estimated budget will be Rs. 1,000 crore of which the Centre’s share will be Rs. 286 crore
  • Even for the 62 lakh families, the Centre will bear 60% of the cost and the remaining will be the State’s share
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