The government is mulling over a Rs 600-crore project to teach India’s construction business how to build safer structures that can withstand earthquakes.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Monday cleared the National Disaster Management Authority’s proposal for a National Earthquake Risk Mitigation Project, which seeks to address the risk posed by earthquakes.
Patil directed officials to send the proposal for an “in principle” approval of the Planning Commission for implementation over the XIth plan.
Over 55 per cent of India’s geographical area is prone to high-intensity earthquakes and one in three buildings is believed to be vulnerable.
For instance, officials of the National Disaster Management Authority indicated that a high-intensity tremor could lead to collapse of several thousands of buildings in Delhi and damage tens of thousands others.
The authority’s project targets imparting training to 90,000 engineers, 24,000 architects, building contractors and site supervisors. Besides, officials said, the project would also cover 4.5 lakh lead masons and masons.
Capacity building exercise would involve institutions like IITs, NITs, engineering and architectural colleges, among others, a home ministry official said.
“Capacity building would account for over 50 per cent of the expenditure under this project,” an official later said.
The government has also proposed to set up a National Institute for Earthquake Management in Dehradun to improve the quality of research into earthquake mitigation.
As a per cent of investment in construction, the US, west European countries and Australia spend 4 to 6 per cent on R&D, central European countries and southern and east Asian countries spend 1.5 to 2 per cent while India and other countries in south Asia spend barely 0.03 to 0.05 per cent.