Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 11

Top metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata fall under moderate to high risk seismic zones

of the country, the National Disaster Management Authority has


said.
Earthquake is a major issue of concern. Over 58.6 per cent of land in India is highly vulnerable to earthquakes and 38 cities fall under moderate to high risk seismic
zones, NDMA Vice Chairman Shashidhar Reddy told PTI.
Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Greater Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, Ahmedabad, Dehradun are some of the cities falling in the vulnerability zone.
Noting that a large number of buildings constructed in the past have not been made earthquake resistant, he said, NDMA is ensuring that the new constructions that
come up are disaster resistant and the old buildings are retrofitted.
The NDMA is training a large number of architects, engineers and masons to make sure that any new construction that comes up is earthquake resistant.
To have a topography study, a team of experts from six IITs led by IIT-Mumbai is working together to classify buildings in 10 different types, to make all buildings
earthquake resistant, he said.
A senior NDMA official said that 235 districts fall in the seismic zones IV and V.
We need to take into consideration structural safety, mitigation and preparedness and immediate response. Lifeline buildings and telephone booths need to be
retrofitted and critical installations in zone IV areas should not be allowed, the official said.
He said in spite of Japan being highly equipped and fully prepared, when disaster struck, the country was devastated.
It reminds us of our vulnerability. Disaster management is not a one-day job. We have already done mistakes in not closely monitoring our constructions in the past.
Since making all buildings earthquake resistant is a state subject, NDMA has already written to almost all the states to ensure safe construction as per disaster
management guidelines.
However, a senior official rued No substantial response has been received so far.

Very few buildings in India meet the standards prescribed in "Indian Standards Criteria for Earthquake Resistant Design" - first published by the Bureau of
Indian Standards in 1962, the latest revision being in 2005. These are not enforced, so almost no one knows such earthquake-resistant standards and
guidelines for home-owners exist.
The Delhi Metro is one of the few Indian structures built to withstand a quake. Many of the houses built in Bhuj after the Gujarat quake of 2001 are now
earthquake-resistant.
READ ALSO: 80% of Delhi's buildings won't stand a quake
But nothing has changed since 1993, when a relatively milder earthquake of magnitude 6.4 in Maharashtra's Latur district killed nearly 10,000 people in what
was considered a non-seismic zone. Most died because shoddily constructed houses collapsed at the first major shake, as they did in Gujarat eight years later.
The government of India today lists 38 cities in moderate to high-risk seismic zones. "Typically, the majority of the constructions in these cities are not
earthquake-resistant," notes a 2006 report written by the United Nations for the ministry of home affairs. "Therefore in the event of an earthquake, one of
these cities would become a major disaster."
READ ALSO: Kolkata's worst fears come alive on scary Sunday
The earth's landmasses ride like gigantic rafts on "plates", or sections of the earth's outermost layer, the crust. These plates frequently slip and slide, causing
earthquakes. We don't feel the small ones. The big ones, literally, shake us up.
The Himalayas and north India are on particularly shaky ground. Sometime in the geological past, before humans, India broke off from an ancient
supercontinent called Gondwana, a name still used for what is now Chhattisgarh.
The Indian plate skewed north, displaced an ancient sea, travelled more than 2,000 km - the fastest a plate has ever moved - and slammed into the Eurasian
plate, creating the Himalayas.

India still grinds northeast into Asia at roughly 5 cm every year. The last significant - but not geologically significant - quake in this area was the 2005 temblor
in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which sits directly atop the clashing Indian and Eurasian plates. Around 80,000 people died.
In pics: Nepal earthquake Rescue effort intensifies
About 60 percent of India is vulnerable to earthquakes caused by the great, northward grind of the Indian subcontinental landmass.
The only serious earthquake that modern India remembers is the temblor that killed about 20,000 in Gujarat in 2001. The 2004 tsunami, which resulted
from the third-most severe quake ever recorded, 9.3 on the Richter scale, occurred when the Indian plate slid with greater violence than it normally does
under the neighbouring Burma plate, upon which rest the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
It caused a 100-km-long rupture in the crust, thrusting the seafloor upwards and pushing up masses of water, setting off the tsunami that killed 230,000
people in 14 countries.
No Indian metropolis has witnessed a serious earthquake, although Delhi lies in high-risk seismic zone 4. Srinagar and Guwahati are in the highest-risk zone
5, and Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata lie in zone 3. History serves a warning that a big one may come at any time. Those lessons come from Bihar in 1934 and
Assam in 1950.
READ ALSO: In India, J&K, HP, Uttarakhand fall under most active seismic zone
Although its epicentre was 10 km south of Mount Everest, the Bihar earthquake of 1934 was felt from Mumbai to Lhasa, flattening almost all major buildings
in many Bihar districts and damaging many in Calcutta, now Kolkata. At 8.4 on the Richter scale, it was pretty severe, killing more than 8,100 (Mahatma
Gandhi said it was punishment for the sin of untouchability).
The 1950 Assam earthquake may have geologically set the stage for a really big one in the Himalayas, according to geologists. Now that 65 years have passed,
it may be time for a big one.
(In arrangement with Indiaspend.org)

| Home | Seasons & Varieties | Tillage | Nutrient Management | Irrigation Management | Weed Management | Crop Protection | Cost of Cultivation |

Major Areas :: Disaster Managment :: Earthquake

EARTHQUAKES
Earthquake is one of the most destructive natural hazard. They may occur at any time of the year, day or night, with sudden impact and little warning. They can destroy buildings and
infrastructure in seconds, killing or injuring the inhabitants. Earthquakes not only destroy the entire habitation but may de-stabilize the government, economy and social structure of
the country.
Earthquakes are the manifestations of sudden release of strain energy accumulated in the rocks over extensive periods of time in the upper part of the Earth.
Seismology (derived from Greek word Seismos meaning Earthquake and Logos meaning science) is the science of Earthquakes and related phenomena.
Seismograph/ Seismogram
Seismograph is an instrument that records the ground motions. Seismogram is a continuous written record of an earthquake recorded by a seismograph.
Seismic Zonation Map of India

Seismic Zonation map of a country is a guide to the seismic status of a region and its susceptibility to earthquakes. India has been divided into five zones with respect to severity of
earthquakes. Of these, Zone V is seismically the most active where earthquakes of magnitude 8 or more could occur recent strong motion observations around the world have
revolutionized thinking on the design of engineering structures, placing emphasis also on the characteristics of the structures themselves it should be realized that in the case of
shield type earthquakes, historic data are insufficient to define zones because recurrence intervals are much longer than the recorded human history this may often give a false
sense of security. Occurrence of the damaging earthquake at Latur, falling in zone I is a typical example of this situation.
Cause of Earthquake :
The earths crust is a rocky layer of varying thickness ranging from a depth of about 10kilometers under the sea to 65 kilometers under the continents. The crust is not one piece but
consists of portions called plates which vary in size from a few hundred to thousands of kilometers. The theory of plate tectonics holds that theplates ride up on the more mobile
mantle,and are driven by some yet unconfirmed mechanisms, perhaps thermal convection currents. When these plates contact each other, stress arises in the crust. These stresses
can be classified according to the type of movement along the plates boundaries:
a) pulling away from each other,
b) pushing against one another and
c) sliding sideways relative to each other.
All these movements are associated with earthquakes.The areas of stress at plate boundaries which release accumulated energy by slipping or rupturing are known as 'faults'. The
theory of 'elasticity' says that the crustis continuously stressed by the movement of the tectonic plates; it eventually reaches a point of maximum supportable strain. A rupture then
occurs along the fault and the rock rebounds under its own elastic stresses until the strain is relieved. The fault rupture generates vibration called seismic (from the Greek 'seismos'
meaning shock or earthquake) waves, which radiates from the focus in all directions. The point of rupture is called the 'focus' and may be located near the surface or deep below it.
The point on the surface directly above the focus is termed as the epicenter' of the earthquake
Magnitude:
It is a quantity to measure the size of an earthquake and is independent of the place of the observation.
Richter Scale:
The local magnitude is defined as the logarithm of the maximum amplitude measured in microns on a seismogram written by Wood-Anderson seismograph with free period of 0.8
second, magnification of 2,800, damping factor of 0.8 calculated to be at a distance of 100 kms. The relative size of events is calculated by comparison to a reference event of
ML=0,using the formula, ML=log A-log Ao
where A is the maximum trace amplitude in micrometer recorded on a standard seismograph and Ao is a standard value which is a function of epicentral distance () in
kilometers.

Classification of earthquakes
Category
Magnitude on Richter Scale

Slight
Moderate
Great
Very Great

Upto 4.9
5.0 to 6.9
7.0 to 7.9
8.0 and more

Source: www.imd.gov.in
India has witnessed some of the most devastating earthquakes during the last century like the one in Kangra (1905), Bihar-Nepal (1934) and in Assam (1950). In the recent past,
earthquakes have caused havoc in Uttarkashi (1991), Latur (1993), Jabalpur (1997), Chamoli (1999) and in Bhuj (2001).
On 26th January 2001, India experienced one of the worst earthquakes in recent times. Measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake caused incalculable damage not just to
its epicenter, Bhuj but also to other towns of the district of Kutch and to about 500 villages out of the total of 900 villages. The reported damage to property in Gujarat was about
Rs.21, 000crore and the number of human lives lost were about 14,000. Of these, more than 500 deaths were reported from Ahmedabad, situated at a distance of about 350 kms
from Bhuj. In the same city, close to 150 multi-storied buildings crumbled down. Cities far away from the epicenter, like Surat, too reported damage to property.
SOME DAMAGING EARTHQUAKES IN INDIA AND APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF LIVES LOST

Year of occurrence
1618
1720
1737
1803
1803
1819
1828
1833
1848
1869
1885
1897
1905
1906
1916
1918
1930
1934
1935
1941
1947
1950
1952
1956
1956
1958

Place of
occurrence
Bombay
Delhi
Bengal
Mathura
Kumaon
Kutchch
Srinagar
Bihar
Mt.Abu, Rajasthan
Assam
Srinagar
Shillong
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Nepal
Assam
Dhubri, Meghalaya
Bihar, Nepal
Quetta (in Pakistan)
Andaman
Dibrugarh
Assam
NE India
Bulandshahar, U.P.
Anjar, Gujarat
Kapkote, U.P.

Intensity
6.5
6.5
6.5
8.0
6.0
7.7
6.0
7.5
7.0
8.7
8.0
7.0
7.5
7.6
7.1
8.3
7.5
8.1
7.8
8.6
7.5
6.7
7.0
6.3

Others
XI
X
XII
XI
IX
XI
IX
X
XII
VIII
VIII
VIII

2000 lives lost


Some lives lost
300,000 lives lost
The shock felt up to Calcutta.
Killed 200-300 people.
Chief towns of Tera, Kathara and Mothala razed to the gr
1000 people killed.
Hundreds of people killed
Few people killed
Affected an area of 2,50,000 Sq. miles.
Kamiarary area destroyed.
Wide spread destruction in Shillong.
Thousands of people killed.
Heavy damage.
All houses collapsed at Dharchulla.
Heavy damage.
Heavy damage in Dhubri.
Large number of border area people killed.
25,000 people killed
Very heavy damage.
Heavy damage.
Heavy damage to life and property.
Heavy damage.
Many people killed
Hundreds of people killed
Many people killed

1967
1969
1986
1988
1988
1991
1993
1997
1999
2001

Koyna,
Bhadrachalam
Dharamshala (H.P)
Assam
Bihar- Nepal
Uttarkashi
Latur
Jabalpur
Chamoli
Bhuj

6.1
6.5
5.7
7.2
6.5
6.6
6.4
6.0
6.8
6.9

VIII
1
VIII
IX
VIII
VIII
VIII
VIII
VIII
X

Koyna Nagar razed.


Heavy damage.
Lots of damage.
Few people killed
Large number of people killed.
Lots of damage to life and property.
Heavy damage to life and property about, 000 people kill
Lots of damage to property, about 39 lives lost.
Lots of damage to property about 100 people lost lives.
Huge devastation, about ~ 14000 people lost lives

EARTHQUAKE HAZARDS IN INDIA


India has had a long history of earthquake occurrences. About 65% of the total area of the country is vulnerable to seismic damage of buildings in varying degrees. The most
vulnerable areas, according to the present seismic zone map of India, are located in the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions, Kutch and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Depending on varying degrees of seism city, the entire country can be divided into the following seismic regions:

Kashmir and Western Himalayas - Covers the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and sub-mountainous areas of Punjab

Central Himalayas - Includes the mountain and sub-mountain regions of Uttar Pradesh and the sub-mountainous parts of Punjab

North-east India - Comprises the whole of Indian territory to the east of north Bengal

Indo-Gangetic basin and Rajasthan - This region comprises of Rajasthan, plains of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal

Cambay and Rann of Kutch

Peninsular India, including the islands of Lakshwadeep

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands

MEASURES FOR EARTHQUAKE RISK REDUCTION


For better understanding of all the possibilities of earthquake risk reduction, it is important to classify them in terms of the role that each one of them could play. Therefore, in the preearthquake phase, preparedness, mitigation and prevention are concepts to work on. Post-disaster, immediate rescue and relief measures including temporary sheltering soon after
an earthquake until about 3 months later and re-construction and re-habilitation measures for a period of about six months to three years need to follow. To encapsulate, the most
effective measures of risk reduction are pre-disaster mitigation, preparedness and preventive measures to reduce vulnerability and expeditious, effective rescue and relief actions
immediately after the occurrence of the earthquake. Depending upon the calamity and its consequences, strategies can also be divided into long term (five to fifteen years), medium
term (one to five years) and short term (to be taken up immediately in high risk areas). Since it has been realized that earthquakes don't kill people but faulty constructed buildings
do, the task of reducing vulnerability of structures and buildings will be the key to earthquake risk reduction. Also, pre-disaster preparedness through a post-earthquake response
plan, including training of the concerned personnel in various roles, is considered essential for immediate and effective response after an earthquake occurrence. The major action
points are highlighted in the following paragraphs.
PRE-DISASTER PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Long-term measures

Re-framing buildings' codes, guidelines, manuals and byelaws and their strict implementation. Tougher legislation for highly seismic areas.

Incorporating earthquake resistant features in all buildings at high-risk areas.

Making all public utilities like water supply systems, communication networks, electricity lines etc. earthquake-proof. Creating alternative arrangements to reduce
damages to infrastructure facilities.

Constructing earthquake-resistant community buildings and buildings (used to gather large groups during or after an earthquake) like schools, dharamshalas, hospitals,
prayer halls, etc., especially in seismic zones of moderate to higher intensities.

Supporting R&D in various aspects of disaster mitigation, preparedness and prevention and post-disaster management.

Evolving educational curricula in architecture and engineering institutions and technical training in polytechnics and schools to include disaster related topics.

Medium term measures

Retrofitting of weak structures in highly seismic zones.

Preparation of disaster related literature in local languages with dos and don'ts for construction.

Getting communities involved in the process of disaster mitigation through education and awareness.

Networking of local NGOs working in the area of disaster management.

Earthquake Facts & Statistics


Frequency of Occurrence of Earthquakes

Descriptor

Magnitude
Great
8 and higher
Major
7 - 7.9
Strong
6 - 6.9
Moderate
5 - 5.9
Light
4 - 4.9
Minor
3 - 3.9
Very Minor
2 - 2.9
Based on observations since 1900.
Based on observations since 1990.

Average Annually
1
17
134
1319
13,000 (estimated)
130,000 (estimated)
1,300,000 (estimated)

Year-wise description of Earth Quakes

Number of Earthquakes Worldwide for 2000 - 2005. Located by the US Geological Survey National
Earthquake Information Center
Magnitude
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
8.0 to 9.9
1
1
0
1
2
1
7.0 to 7.9
14
15
13
14
14
9
6.0 to 6.9
158
126
130
140
140
116
5.0 to 5.9
1345
1243
1218
1203
1509
1307
4.0 to 4.9
8045
8084
8584
8462
10894
10264
3.0 to 3.9
4784
6151
7005
7624
7937
5782
2.0 to 2.9
3758
4162
6419
7727
6317
3249
1.0 to 1.9
1026
944
1137
2506
1344
20
0.1 to 0.9
5
1
10
134
103
0

No Magnitude

3120

2938

2937

3608

2939

642

Total

22256

23534

27454

31419

* 31199

* 21390

231

21357

1685

33819

284010

1957

Estimated Deaths
List of Some Significant Earthquakes in India

Date
1819 Jun 16
1869 Jan 10
1885 May 30
1897 Jun 12
1905 Apr 04
1918 Jul 08
1930 Jul 02
1934 Jan 15
1941 Jun 26
1943 Oct 23
1950 Aug 15
1956 Jul 21
1967 Dec 10
1975 Jan 19
1988 Aug 06
1988 Aug 21
1991 Oct 20
1993 Sep 30
1997 May 22
1999 Mar 29
2001 Jan 26

23.6
25
34.1
26
32.3
24.5
25.8
26.6
12.4
26.8
28.5
23.3
17.37
32.38
25.13
26.72
30.75
18.07
23.08
30.41
23.40

Epicenter
68.6
93
74.6
91
76.3
91.0
90.2
86.8
92.5
94.0
96.7
7.0
73.75
78.49
95.15
86.63
78.86
76.62
80.06
79.42
70.28

Location
Kutch,Gujarat
Near Cachar, Assam
Sopor, J&K
Shillongplateau
Kangra, H.P
Srimangal, Assam
Dhubri, Assam
Bihar-Nepalborder
Andaman Islands
Assam
Arunachal Pradesh-China Border
Anjar, Gujarat
Koyna, Maharashtra
Kinnaur, Hp
Manipur-Myanmar Border
Bihar-Nepal Border
Uttarkashi, Up Hills
Latur - Osmanabad, Maharashtra
Jabalpur, MP
Champoli, UP
Bhuj, Gujarat

Magnitude
8.0
7.5
7.0
8.7
8.0
7.6
7.1
8.3
8.1
7.2
8.5
7.0
6.5
6.2
6.6
6.4
6.6
6.3
6.0
6.8
6.9

Links
www.imd.gov.in/section/seismo/static/welcome.htm (Seismological activities)
Source:
www.cbse.nic.in/natural%20hazards%20&%20disaster%20management.pdf

| Home | Seasons & Varieties | Tillage |Nutrient Management | Irrigation Management | Weed Management | Crop Protection | Cost of Cultivation |
All Rights Reserved. TNAU-2015

India: Tri-cities of Chandigarh, Mohali and Punchkula, and Shimla on path to a better earthquake disaster preparedness

Date:13 Feb 2013


Source(s):Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), India - gov; National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India - gov

Mega Mock Drill on earthquake preparedness was conducted by the governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and UT Chandigarh in collaboration and guidance of National Disaster Management
Authority (NDMA) in tri-cities of Chandigarh, Mohali and Punchkula, and at Shimla on 13th Feb., 2013. It is for the first time that such an effort has been made in this region. These states and UT Chandigarh
lie in seismic zones IV and V and therefore their vulnerability to earthquake hazard is a matter of serious concern. Earthquakes are one of the worst natural calamities which can neither be predicted nor
prevented. The impact of such a disaster on lives and property can be reduced considerably by better preparedness and awareness.

The NDMA for the first time in history of our country initiated a project to develop a multi-state earthquake disaster scenario for a hypothetical earthquake of Magnitude 8 with its epicenter at Sundernagar
Town in Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh. This hypothetical Scenario has been developed by team of earthquake engineering experts from IITs Bombay and Madras, and in consultation with the Wadia
Institute of Himalayan Geology, Seismology Division of IMD and Geological Survey of India under the guidance of NDMA. The simulation results with the epicenter near Sundernagar in Mandi District of
Himachal Pradesh which lies in the seismic zone V and projects strong shaking in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. It has been considered to be on
the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) at a depth of 15 km, the MSK Intensity map using the Boore and Atkinson (2008) GMPE has been used . It is seen that the maximum intensity obtained due to this
earthquake ~ X which is observed at the rupture surface and the MBT fault is ruptured to a length of 200 km over the districts starting from the middle of Kangra, passing through Mandi, Bilaspur and Solan.
The epicentre of the hypothetical earthquake is located in a seismic gap in western Himalaya and several scientists expect this region to experience a large earthquake in the future.

To have a pragmatic assessment of coordinated response capabilities, sites were carefully selected with due consideration to encompass varied range. In all 60 sites were selected such as government
buildings, malls, engineering college, hospitals, office complexes, airport, railway station, market area, schools, bus station, cinema halls, petrol stations etc. In the tri-cities of Chandigarh, Mohali and
Punchkula, and at Shimla. A Unified Command, State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and District EOC were setup with dedicated stand alone Disaster Management Communication Network.
Connectivity was established with NDMA and MHA EOCs.

Objectives of the exercise was:

i. To generate greater public awareness about the vulnerability of the region to disasters with specific emphasis on earthquakes;
ii. Steps that need to be taken to reduce their impact on people, their family and the community etc.;
iii. To raise awareness that it is not the earthquake but the collapse of buildings and built infrastructure that result in injury and deaths.
iv. To highlight the importance of construction of safe buildings, which comply with earthquake resistant norms as also the requirement of assessment of existing lifeline and critical buildings, water pipelines
etc.
v. To test the response capabilities of various agencies at the state and district level, and;
vi. To identify the gaps.

About 900 personnel from NDRF organized in 30 teams, approx 900 civil defense personnel and 270 independent observers from Army participated in the exercise. The emergency support functionaries like
police, health, fire, ambulance, civil defense, power and PWD etc participated. During the mock drill the response time, communication, coordination and skills of these emergency support functionaries were
observed. At the same time the local residents benefitted from the mock drill which resulted in increased awareness.

We would consider that the success of this drill has been the identification of the gaps in our response preparedness and actions, and this will lay a strong foundation for enhanced preparedness efforts to be
carried out in a sustained manner in future

The key important lessons learnt are:

i. Necessity of establishment Disaster Management Plans at various levels;


ii. Need for state-of-the art emergency operation centres at the state and district level with redundancy;
iii. Setting-up and use of wireless communication system for the stakeholders to more effectively deal with an earthquake disaster cenario;
iv. Recognise capacity of having better road accessibility in case of disaster;
v. Identification of requirements of state-of-the-art equipment and systematic inventory of resources, both with govt. and private sector;
vi. Need for adequate number of ambulances;
vii. Greater public awareness and sensitization of people for enhanced preparedness.
viii. The need to make younger generation aware of the earthquake hazards and coping mechanism.

The NDMA in close collaboration with other states in seismic zones IV & V is planning to focus on earthquake disaster preparedness over the next two-three years.

**********

View press release [ext. link]

Keywords

Themes:Capacity Development, Critical Infrastructure, Disaster Risk Management


Hazards:Earthquake
Countries/Regions:India
Short URL:http://preventionweb.net/go/32253

Tag This Document

Tags

Comma separated. E.g. gender events, women

> Log in to view your tags

Please contribute, submit news or announcements.

PreventionWeb welcomes submissions from the disaster risk reduction community. Please contribute.

Submit news or announcements

Submit news or announcements

Tools
Save

Email this page

Post-2015 Disaster Risk Reduction

Explore the WCDRR intergovernmental, multi-stakeholder and public forum sessions and outcomes

WCDRR website

Most buildings in city not earthquake-safe


Civic Bodies Train Engineers But No Survey Done To Categorize Buildings

Risha Chitlangia TNN


New Delhi: Tuesdays mild tremors might not have caused any damage but
with Delhi being the epicentre, concerns have been raised about the
governments preparedness to handle an earthquake. Delhi is vulnerable to
earthquakes is no secret, considering it falls under seismic level IV. But are
we prepared for a moderate to high intensity earthquake with Delhi as the
epicentre?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. It is hard to imagine the damage
caused by an earthquake with high intensity. The city has over 25 lakh
buildings; a majority of them do not adhere to the safety code, nor have
they been constructed under proper technical supervision, said S N
Mahapatra, senior specialist in earthquake and Tsunami, National Disaster
Management Authority (NDMA).
Though the Delhi governments disaster management authority has been
conducting campaigns to spread awareness on building safety, little effort

has gone into ensuring that buildings, especially highrises, are safe and
earthquake-resistant. Every year, the civic agencies here approve thousands
of plans for constructing new buildings. No thought seems to be spared for
the stability of these structures. Though it is mandatory to get a
certificatefrom a structural engineer, sources say it has been reduced to a
formality; most building owners dont even apply for a completion certificate
from civic agencies.
Civic agencies, with the help of NDMA, have trained their engineers in
identifying dangerous buildings and dividing them into three categories:
collapsible, non-collapsible and those liable to economic loss. Even so, no
exercise has been undertaken to categorize buildings in the city. In the past
two years, many surveys have been conducted, especially in east Delhi, to
check the stability of buildings.
After the Lalita Park building collapse, MCD had carried out a massive
survey along with the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) to
identify dangerous buildings. The findings were shocking. A majority of
buildings in the area had serious structural defects. Therteafter, we taught
close to 300 MCD engineers how to identify structurally unfit buildings, said
Chandan Ghosh, head of the geo-hazard risk management division, NIDM.
Experts say the government must take drastic measures to minimize the
damage caused by an earthquake. From setting up a body to monitor the
quality of construction, to giving incentives for carrying out, a lot needs to
be done. Building audits should be routine. Delhi needs a council on the
lines of the Tall Building Council in Mumbai to look into the safety of
highrises. We need to fix responsibility if we want the city infrastructure to
be safe. Seismic microzonation is an immediate need to find the
vulnerability of each area and factor that in while town planning. The city
allows stilts but they must comply with the building standard code, said
Mahapatra.
Also, the government and civic agencies should get down to fixing the
loopholes in the sanctioning of building plans to make new structures
earthquake-resistant. Experts recommend retrofitting in old buildings,
especially those privately owned.