Thursday, April 30, 2015

Waiting for a Disaster ....

It was a scary experience! The sight of the damage created by the earthquake in Nepal, as seen through our Television Channels was a pointer to our helplessness against the natural disasters. Immediately one wonders what if such a disaster strikes the city of Delhi ?According to a report by Times of India dated 27th April 2015 ( ) , eighty percent of the Delhi buildings will not be able to withstand the tremors if a high magnitude earthquake will strike Delhi. Yet Delhi has not addresses the issue of preparedness for disaster adequately. One of the recent measure by the government is a pointer to this approach. A city that is already short of the amenities for the existing households has been given the mandate for further expansion. The Ministry of Urban Development has hiked floor area ratio (FAR) norms for residential plots in the Capital. Delhi is known for its dense population and the quality of most structures is not good, making it highly vulnerable to disaster like earthquake. As per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map, Delhi fall in seismic zone 4, which means that if an earthquake with intensity measuring 6 or more than 6 on Richter scale strikes the city, it will not be able to withstand the tremors and there is a possibility of a large scale destruction of property and loss of life. 
How can the government ignore the hazard that it is prone to . Look at some of these pictures ...... 

Irrespective of the Party affiliation, all leaders chose to ignore disasters. Their only concern is the Votes. They are not concerned about long term safety and sustainability of cities.It is high time we stop any further expansion.Can any party dare to say that they do not support the mushrooming of illegal colonies in Delhi because it may lead to a disaster situation. Rescue vehicles and relief Team can not move inside the streets of such clusters.Who will save them ? They are filled with illegal electrical lines. Buildings will crumble and it will be so difficult to offer any help. Increase in FAR would again mean higher density of population. We do not even know if the existing buildings were designed to be earthquake resistant or not.Retrofitting is not an expensive solution but are the builders ready for it ? As per the Delhi government data, around one lakh fire incidents have been reported since 2007 and 93 structures collapsed in 2013 alone . I do not know if it is mandatory to have the structural safety  certificate for all buildings in Delhi .It is indeed a difficult situation and unfortunately no agency or government seems willing to take tough measures for the safety and sustenance of our cities.

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