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May 10 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


In recent years, the Chenab Valley, encompassing districts like Ramban, Kishtwar, and Doda, has witnessed alarming incidents of land subsidence, leading to the destruction of numerous houses. This phenomenon poses significant challenges to the region’s infrastructure, environment, and community livelihoods. 

About Land Subsidence: 

  • Land subsidence refers to the gradual sinking or settling of the Earth’s surface due to various natural or human-induced factors. 
  • It can occur due to activities such as groundwater extraction, mining operations, soil erosion, and seismic events like earthquakes. 
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines land subsidence as the sinking of the ground due to underground material movement. 

Causes of Land Subsidence: 

  • Overexploitation of Underground Resources: Extraction of water, natural gas, and oil lowers underground water tables, leading to ground subsidence. Approximately 80% of the world’s extracted water is used for irrigation, contributing to subsidence. 
  • Extraction of Solid Minerals: Mining activities create voids underground, causing the land to sink or subside. Coal mining, for instance, can result in large empty spaces (goafs) underground. 
  • Load Exerted on Ground: Construction of tall buildings and heavy infrastructure can exert pressure on the ground, leading to soil deformation and subsidence over time. Soil creep, the gradual downhill movement of soil due to gravity, is another contributing factor. 

Examples of Land Subsidence: 

  • Jakarta, Indonesia: Excessive groundwater extraction has caused severe land subsidence, with the city sinking at a rate of 25 cm per year. 
  • Netherlands: Extraction of natural gas from underground reservoirs has led to significant land subsidence issues. 

Land Subsidence in the Chenab Valley: 

  • Geological Factors: The region’s soft sedimentary deposits and alluvial soils make it susceptible to subsidence, especially under the weight of urban development. 
  • Unplanned Constructions and Urbanization: Rapid urbanization and unplanned construction activities increase pressure on the land, exacerbating subsidence. 
  • Hydroelectric Projects: Construction of hydroelectric stations alters natural water flow patterns, impacting land stability. 
  • Poor Drainage Systems: Inadequate drainage exacerbates subsidence through waterlogging, increased groundwater levels, and soil erosion. 

Addressing Land Subsidence: 

  • Sustainable Development Planning: Prioritize environmentally sustainable development practices, including efficient water management and responsible land use. 
  • Seismic Monitoring and Early Warning Systems: Establish monitoring networks to track ground movements and seismic activity, providing early warnings of subsidence risks. 
  • Regulation of Mining and Resource Extraction: Enforce strict regulations on mining activities to prevent the creation of underground voids. 
  • Climate Change Mitigation: Implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts, such as glacial melting. 

Mishra Committee Report and Recommendations: 

  • Imposition of Construction Restrictions: Construction activities should adhere to soil stability assessments, and restrictions should be imposed on slope excavation. 
  • Conservation of Trees: Avoid cutting trees in landslide-prone areas and undertake extensive plantation to conserve soil and water resources. 
  • Prevention of Water Seepage: Implement drainage systems to prevent water seepage and minimize landslide risks. 
  • River Training: Construct structures to guide river flow and provide appropriate support to hanging boulders on foothills. 


The incidents of land subsidence in the Chenab Valley underscore the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate risks and safeguard communities and infrastructure. By adopting sustainable development practices and implementing robust monitoring and regulatory frameworks, the region can address the challenges posed by land subsidence effectively. 


May 10
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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