Mizoram, Tripura tighten anti-quake measures

September 22nd, 2011 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Aizawl/Agartala, Sep 22 (IANS) Authorities in Mizoram and Tripura, given the high vulnerability of India’s mountainous northeast to earthquakes, are becoming stricter in enforcing official guidelines on the construction of concrete houses and structures.

The Geological Survey of India had earlier notified that the northeastern region could experience a devastating earthquake as the region, according to seismologists, falls in Zone V, the sixth worst quake-prone belt in the world.

“One building has been demolished recently and owners of 53 others have been asked to bring down theirs as they violated the Building Regulations Act,” an official of the Aizawl Development Authority (ADA) told reporters.

“The design of the every concrete structure and buildings must be quake resistant in Mizoram,” the official stated. He added that the ADA has so far stayed the construction of 158 buildings in the capital and its outskirts.

The ADA has recently received 3,499 applications for construction of buildings, of which 3,257 had been accepted and the remaining either rejected or withdrawn for non-compliance of the guidelines on quake resistance.

“Most buildings in Aizawl and various parts of Mizoram have been constructed without certain safety measures and the fact that entire Mizoram falls in the worst quake-prone zone, make the state vulnerable,” former Mizoram chief engineer R.L. Ruala told IANS.

Officials said that chief ministers and chief secretaries of Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura held separate review meetings in their respective state capitals Monday and Tuesday and decided to improve the existing infrastructure.

The Tripura government also made it mandatory to follow earthquake related guidelines while constructing concrete structure and buildings, specially high-rise.

“The state’s urban development department has further intensified its supervision of quake-related instructions under the Tripura Building Rules,” Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) spokesman Pranab Nandy told IANS.

The AMC has ordered the bulldozing of many concrete structures and large buildings in the capital and its outskirts for not meeting stipulations.

The Tripura government has also undertaken an ambitious seismic retrofitting to protect the century-old heritage buildings and palaces, including erstwhile royal castle “Ujjayanta Palace”.

The two-storeyed Ujjayanta Palace, which until recently was the Tripura legislative assembly, was constructed by then Maharaja Radhakishore Manikya Bahadur in 1899-1901. The magnificent building was the command centre of the erstwhile princely rulers.

As the Tripura assembly in July finally got its permanent home on the outskirts of the city, it was decided that the Ujjayanta Palace would be turned into a state museum, according to the agreement signed with the ex-separatist outfit All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) in March 1993.

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake had rocked large parts of north, east and northeastern India and neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal last Sunday.

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