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Document identifies aspects of terrorism risk

india Updated: Oct 02, 2006 00:57 IST

GUIDELINES ON “Measures to mitigate effects of terrorist attacks on buildings” laid down in a document prepared by Dr Sudhir K Jain and Prof CVR Murty of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-K) indicated that there was no document available in public domain related to terrorism-risk published by any of the government departments or agencies in this country while a number of such publications were available in the public domain in the US. Most of these documents have been published by the US government.

The two professors observed that measures to mitigate efforts of terrorist attacks on buildings could be implemented through building regulations enforced by the Union, State or at Local government level. These building regulations related to physical aspects of terrorism risk could be grouped under five categories including the zoning, building design, building construction, building maintenance and building rehabilitation.

The professors have suggested that changes to bring into force building regulations, in each of these categories must be carefully analysed for political acceptability and availability of resources. According to them after the attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001 protection of civilian population from acts of terrorism had become a major national priority and intentional attack was also seen as one of the building hazards and the building bylaws in US were changed to include the same.

Mandatory design standards would take much longer time to be developed for want of information on the potential attacks with different weapons, data on consequences of damages, limited understanding of the damages associated with each of these attacks with different weapons and inexperience of communities to articulate the risk to different stakeholders.

However, recommendatory design guidelines to mitigate the effects of terrorist attack on buildings in India could be developed relatively easily and quickly, said the professors.

Though criteria for design of structures to resist effects due to blast above ground were given in the IS:4991-1968 and provisions were also available for resisting wind effects on structures especially due to cyclones and fire resistant designs of structures but progressive collapse of building was not dealt with the Indian Codes including in the Indian Seismic codes.

Since, this formed the core issue in structural hardening, research studies needed to be undertaken with a view to developing, guidelines for the inclusion in the Indian standards. Similarly, provisions were also required for the design of fenestrations to resist effects of blast on glass windows and for the effects of ammunition impact on building and structure due to armed attack.

Besides, the details relevant to Chemical, biological, and radiological agents were not dealt in the Indian Building Codes. The need was to frame codes on these issues.  (To be concluded)


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