Kolkata, May 12 (PTI) IIT Kharagpur in collaboration with British Geological Survey will undertake the first major 3D sub-surface urban study in India zeroing on the ancient city of Varanasi.

The project leader from IIT-Kharagpurs department of geology and geophysics, Abhijit Mukherjee said "Cities across the world are working with geoscientists to improve their understanding of the sub-surface in their urban planning. In India, what can be a better place than Varanasi, the oldest known city in India, to set the foundation of the future city?"

"As part of the project, three dimensional modelling of the geology under Varanasi will be prepared to help improve the building of new transport and service infrastructure, the preservation of archaeological sites, management to cope with the hazard of flooding and sustainability of water supplies," he said.

The project includes application of geo-scientific methods like drilling, geological, geophysical, tectonics, hydrogeological and remote sensing. "It aims to delineate the evolution of Varanasi," he said.

Director Science, British Geological Survey, Martin Smith said "The retrieved information on rock and sediment lithologies, physical and chemical characteristics, geo-technical properties, hazard potential and groundwater distribution and flow will lead to construction of a multi-scale 3D conceptual model to allow visualisation of the ground beneath the city."

It would be the first major 3D subsurface urban study and planning of its kind in India, with the ultimate aim of developing methodologies and input of suburban geology for planning and hazard risk assessment, Smith said.

"The ultimate aim is to develop the methodologies and approaches of urban geosciences and engineering of Varanasi as a pilot for other Indian cities," Mukherjee said.

The project involves Prof Probal Sengupta (Geology and Geophysics - IIT-KGP) and Prof Joy Sen (Architecture and Regional Planning RGCGSIDM, IIT-KGP) as co-investigators.

"Varanasi is a living lens of the IIT-KGPs SandHi (Scientific Approach to Networking & Designing of Heritage) project, Sen had told PTI at a SandHi programme earlier.

In North America, Europe and other parts of Asia city planners are increasingly linked to consortia of national geological surveys and academic researchers. PTI SUS KK KK