PLANS ARE underway to amend the building by-laws so as to make the structures more earthquake-resistant in the district. For this, an expert committee comprising engineers from Town and Country Planning Department, Indore Municipal Corporation, Indore Development Authority, MP Housing Board, Public Works Department and engineering colleges will be formed to impart techno-legal guidance for raising safe construction.
The committee will include Principal Secretary of Housing and Environment and Urban Administration and Development Department as well.
ADM Rameshwar Gupta, who represented Indore district at national seminar on Urban Earthquake Vulnerability Reduction Project (UEVRP) in 38 Earthquake-prone Cities of India held in Pune from December 27-29, told Hindustan Times that discussions were underway to change the building by-laws so as to minimise threat to human life and property during natural disaster.
He said district administration was already working on five components highlighted at the Pune meet organised by Union Ministry of Home Affairs and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
They include awareness generation, development of preparedness and response plans at community and administrative level, capacity-building and knowledge networking on best practices adopted to face earthquakes.
“But, we are still not prepared, as we have not faced a major quake so far. Gujarat is better prepared as it has faced and overcome it. Jammu and Kashmir is on its way,” Gupta said, and added that the Home Ministry intended to formulate a Disaster Risk Management Plan by next year for which deliberations were held in Pune.
The focus is on awareness generation and having a preparedness and response plan in place. But, what remains to be introduced is the Emergency Health Management Training Programme for medical officers. “In addition search and rescue, first aid, water and sanitation teams at schools and municipal wards are also to be constituted,” Indore district Project Officer, UEVRP, Durga Prasad Mohapatra said.
Yet, there is hope, as Shri Govindram Saxeria Institute of Technology and Science has introduced earthquake engineering as a subject in its civil engineering course.
Other engineering colleges are following suit, Mohapatra informed. In another effort, Khandwa district administration is holding a seminar on earthquake management on January 12-13.
The vulnerability atlas prepared by Building Materials Promotion and Technology Council, Government of India, has identified Indore and Jabalpur district as a low-intensity earthquake zones. The high-risk zones include Dehra Dun, Delhi, Jamnagar (Gujarat), Patna, Bareilly (UP), Jammu, Amritsar and Jalandhar. The most sensitive zones are Guwahati (Assam) and Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir).