Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi wonders, if the state government directive to ensure seismically safe walls and foundations in all government buildings, including schools, hospitals, theatres and auditoriums, were being implemented in the state at all.
Addressing a day's sensitisation-cum-training programme of Bihar Administrative Service officialsat Hotel Patliputra Ashok here on Saturday, he said any building, government or private, could be made seismically safe at just 4-5% extra cost. But this requires massive awareness, he added.
He admitted,Government buildings suffered heavy damage in the earthquake of 1988, which I saw as a member of the House Committee during the early 90s.
In view of the fact, that 32 districts of the state were located in highly sensitive seismic zones V and IV, including Patna, Modi reiterated the need to make all buildings in these districts seismically safe.
Referring to frequent cases of cooking gas cylinder blasts, Modi was of the view, that every household in Bihar must have a fire extinguisher to minimise casualties in such accidents.
As for the Chhath stampede on the banks of Ganga leading to the death of nearly 20 persons in November 2012, he said, authorities need to pay attention to crowd management, an important aspect of any event these days.
In her address, disaster management department (DMD) minister, Renu Kumari Kushwaha, said saving maximum number of lives should be the aim of Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA), irrespective of the fact, whether the disaster was natural or man-made.
The DMD is striving to make Bihar disaster-free, as per chief minister Nitish Kumar's dream to ensure safe and secure life to people, she added.
The government would shortly launch disaster awareness programmes in schools and colleges, the minister noted.
Till about 15 years ago, disaster was seen only in the perspective of relief, said Anil Kumar Sinha, vice chairman, BSDMA.
However, presently the entire focus is on "disaster risk reduction" and to link it with sustainable development, he added. Sinha also talked about mainstreaming of disaster management.