More areas in Uttar Pradesh develop cracks on the surface

June 17th, 2008 - 8:17 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, June 16 (IANS) After the drought-hit Hamirpur, Jalaun and Orai districts in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region, wide cracks have now developed on the earth in several other districts including Rae Bareilly, Allahabad and Kanpur, officials said Monday. Barely 55 km from state capital Lucknow, in Rae Bareilly’s Bachhrawan tehsil, the earth developed over 10-foot long cracks Sunday, they added.

“For safety measures, we have directed barricading of all areas which developed the cracks,” Rae Bareilly district magistrate Santosh Kumar told IANS.

He said the district administration had sought help from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and the Uttar Pradesh Groundwater Directorate to establish the cause of the phenomenon.

Soil samples of the affected sites in Kanpur and Allahabad have also been sent to GSI labs, officials said.

Several houses in Bundelkhand region including Hamirpur, Orai and Jalaun were damaged after the earth crust developed numerous cracks June 11.

The state’s Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta along with other senior officials and scientists of the groundwater directorate inspected the affected sites.

Groundwater directorate director M.M. Ansari told IANS: “It appears the cracks developed due to a steep fall in the groundwater level. Over the years, there has been a considerable fall in groundwater (level) in the drought-affected Bundelkhand region.”

Decline in the groundwater level meant the space under the surface was now occupied by gases, which often could not support the weight of the layers above. Different layers of earth tend to move as a result, leading to cracks on the surface, reasoned Ansari.

He said the groundwater directorate, along with hydrologists, was still studying the phenomenon and a final report will be prepared shortly.

Meanwhile, Lucknow University geologists said the loss in binding capacity of soil had caused the cracks.

“It seems due to loss of groundwater the soil at the affected sites had lost its normal adhesion property. This property tends to keep soil intact as it binds it with water molecules,” said Vibhuti Rai, a professor with the Lucknow University’s geology department.

However, due to the groundwater scarcity, soil was not able to bind with water molecules. As a result, the earth’s crust in various districts was developing cracks, added the geologist.

The university has undertaken a project to study the cracks.

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