Sunday, Jun 09, 2024 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jun 09, 2024 02:26 [IST]

Flood in Manipur Hill and Valley Regions


The Pattern of floods in both hills/Plateau and valleys with heavy and moderate rains has been becoming common in the last few years. These floods have been acting as a cruise to the common people of Manipur disturbing economic and other day-to-day activities and leading to losses of lives and wealth at times. This year with cyclone Remal the flood is magnified to an extent that in normal dry areas, water rises to more than 12 feet from the ground level. The State Government's failure to operate dams properly to manage or control the flood also added more problems.

 In hill regions, deforestation and heavy rains can deposit large amounts of soil and rock into small channels leading to blockages and causing floods in hills. Deforestation generally increased the volume of water flow and more sediments in the valley region led to flooding. The situation in the hill regions surrounding the Imphal Valley, such as Senapati, Kangpokpi, Ukhrul, and Churchandpur, is exacerbating flooding and landslide problems due to deforestation and inadequate vegetation. Whenever there is rainfall in the hill region, immediate runoff of rainfall from the hills carries sediments into the valleys, causing significant damage. The lack of trees and vegetation in the hill regions reduces the natural water absorption and retention capacity of the soil. Rapid water flow down the hills leads to increased erosion and sediment transport, contributing to flooding and landslides. Vegetations play a crucial role in holding soil in place with their roots. When there is no vegetation and forests are cleared, the soils become loose and lead to erosion. The lack of vegetation leads to quicker runoff with intense sediments. The increased sediment load in rivers and streams can lead to siltation of water bodies, reducing their capacity to hold water and increasing the likelihood of flooding. This sediment can also degrade water quality and disrupt aquatic ecosystems. These sediments settle in smaller channels and reduce river and stream capacity to carry water. Later, this sediment slowly builds and can completely block these channels. Drainage infrastructure should be designed to be able to hold large volumes of water and debris. The major causes of deforestation in the hills of Manipur include mass poppy cultivation, firewood as many houses have no access to cooking gas, production of charcoals, and anti-insurgency activities of Indian Armed Forces in which the burned down forests to fish out the armed insurgents.

Unplanned or badly planned urban development often encroaches on natural waterways and wetlands reducing the natural flood mitigation capacity. Many wetlands have vanished in Imphal Valley due to successive government failures. Lamphelpat, Yalrelpat, Keisampat, Porompat, and other small wetlands vanished in the name of development and may be also linked to the Central Government land policy of Manipur namely “The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960” which was passed in Delhi without consulting any citizen of Manipur. Poor irrigation practices can lead to waterlogging and increased runoff contributing to flooding. The situation in the Imphal Municipal area indicates a chronic problem with the drainage system, which has resulted in prolonged flooding even after the rain has stopped and river water levels have normalized. The existing drainage system is inadequate to handle heavy rain and water overflow, leading to waterlogging due to years of no maintenance. Even after the rain stops and river levels recede, water remains stagnant due to ineffective drainage.

The ongoing drug war between the indigenous Meitei Community and illegal migrant communities from Myanmar who engage in drug cartels also exacerbated the management of land. The habit or the actives of illegal migrants to burn down forest after forest to cultivate poppy is the huge concert and major cause of landslides flash floods, and blockages of water movements. The Government of India needs to find a mechanism to ensure all the illegal migrants return to their native countries.

Managing dams and monitoring them effectively is crucial in mitigating flood risks. Implement reforestation and soil conservation practices upstream to reduce sediment load and improve water intention. Install sensors to provide continuous data on reservoir levels, rainfall, and inflow rates. Use satellites and IOT (Internet of Things) technologies to monitor time-to-time access or difficulty in dams. Develop and maintain early warning systems to alert the people. Use public information campaigns, workshops, and community meetings to educate the residents.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi