India escaped devastation on Tuesday afternoon as the tremor that shook large areas of northern and western parts of the country did not do much more than sending people rushing out of their homes and offices.
People residing in high-rise buildings in Jodhpur and other areas were most panic-stricken. However, no casualty or loss to property has been reported. In Jaipur people were seen on long-distance calls and hurriedly switching on TV sets.
Fear was palpable in Ahmedabad because nearly 20,000 people had died in the earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001.
The tremors lasted a few seconds, a senior state government official said, and people who were in multi-storeyed buildings could experience it. “People immediately started coming out on the streets,” he added.
“I could not believe it. It seemed the side wall bent on me,” said Rajesh, who was sitting in a shop in Hisar, Haryana.
Shambhu Dutt, who works for Haryana Agricultural University, said people then were about to leave office. “As the tremors were felt, they came out in the open, leaving their belongings behind. Most remained on the roads for long as they thought there could be some more aftershocks,” said Dutt.
In Srinagar, officials of the meteorological centre said the quake caused no damage to life or property in the valley.
Most of the Kashmir valley is vulnerable to earthquakes of very high intensity with the risk of extensive damage to life and property.
Parts of western UP, particularly cities bordering Delhi, too felt the tremor, but as elsewhere, there was no damage.
With inputs from Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Srinagar, Chandigarh and Lucknow.