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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

‘Minor quake can spell trouble’

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, April 18, 2013
First Published: 01:43 IST(18/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:45 IST(18/4/2013)

Skyscrapers in the Millennium City always face the threat of collapse in case of any high magnitude earthquake, experts say.

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On Tuesday, thousands of people in the city rushed out of their offices and residences during the tremor that hit the Iran-Pakistan border.

Though there was no casualty in India, experts believe that any earthquake with an epicenter in Gurgaon’s vicinity will create havoc. The city falls in the high risk seismic zone-4.

Gurgaon has nearly 1,100 high-rise buildings.

According to RK Kaushal, senior specialist with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), even a shallow earthquake with intensity of 6.5 on Richter scale will badly affect Old Gurgaon areas and urban villages which have more than 90% of non-engineered dwellings constructed with burnt bricks. Such buildings cannot withstand the effects of a major earthquake.

In New Gurgaon areas, the office buildings made of steel frames will be safe, but residential high-rises are more vulnerable. Most of these buildings are open at ground floor for parking but this makes the buildings highly susceptible to structural failure.

Experts say that those living in congested areas such as Udyog Vihar can be badly affected.

“What is worrying is that there is no preparedness here on handling mass casualty. Even the offices and residences of the officials responsible for rescue, like the one of deputy commissioner or the police commissioner, are not retrofitted with earthquake-resistant features,” said Kaushal.

The administration has hydraulic platforms of up to 45 metre height, which is not enough for the city which has an array of tall buildings. Delhi has fire platforms of 60 metres.

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