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CSE: Better construction norms needed

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on April 27, 2015

Poor condition and quality of buildings in India contribute to the large number of deaths and destruction during earthquakes, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has pointed out.

“Lack of regulations for construction and monitoring of buildings makes a huge proportion of them unsafe. The large number of deaths in Nepal and India should lead to a reflection on our building quality, and whether these will be able to withstand an earthquake of moderate to high intensity,” said Anumita Roychowdhury from CSE.

In addition to strict implementation of new building codes to new constructions, there is a need to retrofit existing buildings to make them safer, the think tank suggested in a press release.

“There are around 25 lakh old buildings in Delhi alone. However, while the know-how for retrofitting is in place, neither a survey nor an effort to initiate this massive project has begun,” she added. A survey by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has found that in the last 25 years more than 25,000 human fatalities were caused primarily by collapse of buildings during earthquakes.

The performances of reinforced concrete buildings at the time of earthquakes have been found to be unsatisfactory, the CSE observed. During the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, RC buildings collapsed at an earthquake of just 6 on the Richter scale, when a well-designed RC building is expected to collapse only when a quake is 7.5 or higher. “The damage caused to these buildings is unreasonably high compared to any other country for similar level of ground-shaking,” the release said.

Published on April 27, 2015
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