JICA’s training program started since 1966
SONAM PENJOR | Thimphu
To present the outcomes of their learning in Japan and to encourage participants to carry out their action plans to their respective workstations, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Bhutan Office organized the Action Plan Presentation of JICA’s Training Program on 12 December.
During the session, seven participants of long-term (Masters) and short-term training programs made reports on their research and learning during their stay in Japan.
JICA’s training program for Bhutan started since 1966 and more than 2,300 Bhutanese people have participated in the training programs.
The Chief Representative of JICA Bhutan Office, Tomoyuki Yamada, said they are putting priority on human resource development. He said the programs are not just providing the opportunity from Japan to the participants, but Japanese are eager to learn from the Bhutanese.
One of the long-term course beneficiaries, Dhan Raj Chhetri from Department of Road (DoR) under Ministry of Works and Human Settlement did research on ‘Analysis of Geohazard Occurrence and Recovery Along Highways in Bhutan using road blockage database and geospatial characteristics.
During the research, he found out that most sections of the roads pass through deep river valleys along geologically unstable mountains making it susceptible to geographical hazards.
Due to the absence of mitigation and reduction response, Dhan Raj said that the department is constrained to adopt reactive approach. Thus, significant amount of resources like machinery, manpower, budget among others is spent every year to restore the damage.
Acknowledging the JICA Bhutan office, Commissioner for Royal Civil Service Commission, Tshering Yangden, said that very professional and it will be useful to the candidates to reflect while it is time to implement and what are they going to do.
“The scholarship should not just benefit yourself rather it should benefit the country, community and also to encourage others to avail such opportunities,” said Tshering Yangden.
Dhan Raj said the research objective is to develop a comprehensive relationship framework between road geohazards and the various influencing parameters. He also intends to develop relationship framework between road geohazards and factors governing the clearance time of roadblock and develop geohazard susceptibility prediction models utilizing random forest method.
Thus, the overall study results are expected to help the relevant agencies in understanding the relationship patterns which will enable them to better plan and prepare for future mitigation and risk reduction responses based on the prediction model.
The research also revealed that landslides were the most predominant types of failure events with 60.9 percent followed by debris flow accounting to 23.5 percent. Snowfall recorded the minimum roadblock event with 0.2 percent.
Dhan Raj Chhetri said that the rainfall intensity was the highest in the month of June and July which also recorded the highest numbers of roadblock events. Thus, rainfall is one of the major parameters that caused the roadblock.
Land use land cover, concerning broadleaf and agriculture, recorded maximum number of roadblock accounting for a total of 43.11 percent and 23.4 percent respectively he said, adding that slope facing south are more vulnerable accounting to 71.9 percent to failure events as these regions receives more rain and have weaker and lighter vegetation coverage.
He also said that higher than slope steepness, higher is the failure records. The slope angle should be maintained and slope curvature does not impact the failure occurrence when compared to other aspects of the slope in general.
Dhan Raj added that rainfall was found to not only cause the failure but also significantly impact the clearance time and availability of machinery at site plays a major role in roadblock clearance time. One of the reasons for delay is because of the insufficient resource allocation.
Meanwhile, for his research, 78-kilometer-long stretch Wangdue-Trongsa primary national highway (PNH) was selected and divided into 79 Chainage points at an interval of 1-km.
The model test showed that out of 79 locations the likelihood of landslide accounting to 48.1 percent, debris flow with 93.6 percent and rockfall accounting to 89.8 percent.
He said that the model can be of significant use when specific location is up for study and installation of countermeasure. Such results are expected to help the DoR in understanding the relationship patterns which would enable them to better plan and prepare for future mitigation and risk reduction responses.
“This geohazard susceptibility prediction models can be utilized to predict the occurrence and types of failure. Thus, necessary and timely interventions can be installed which can reduced the risk to people and future maintenance cost,” Dhan Raj said.