[Answered] Earthquake preparedness is not just about buildings — cities as a whole need to be reimagined. Elucidate. 

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Explain some issues related to Indian policy on earthquake. Also write some Measures to improve the preparedness for earthquakes.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Nearly 58% of the Indian landmass is vulnerable to earthquakes. According to the seismic zoning map of India prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India has been divided into four zones – II, III, IV and V. Geologists have warned of a probable massive earthquake in the Himalayan state.

Issues related to Indian policy on earthquake:

  • India’s policy on earthquake preparedness operates primarily at the scale of structural details. It is guided by the National Building Codes.
  • This includes specifying dimensions of columns, beams and details of the reinforcements that join these elements together.
  • It ignores the buildings that were constructed before such codes were published in 1962. Such buildings form a large part of our cities.
  • It assumes infallibility in the processes of enforcement. It relies only on penalisation and illegalities.
  • It treats earthquakes as a problem of individual buildings. It assumes that buildings exist and behave in complete isolation from their urban context.

Measures to improve the preparedness for earthquakes:

  • There is a need to create a system oftax-based incentives for retrofitting existing structures and enforcing seismic codes with more efficiency. This will generate a body of well-trained professionals and competent organisations.
  • Japanis a good example in this case. It has invested heavily in technological measures to mitigate the damage from the frequent earthquakes that it experiences.
  • Skyscrapers are built with counterweights and other high-tech provisionsto minimise the impact of tremors.
  • Small houses are built on flexible foundationsand public infrastructure is integrated with automated triggers that cut power, gas, and water lines during earthquakes.
  • The policy should start with surveys and auditsthat can generate earthquake vulnerability maps.
  • Using such maps, enforcement, incentives, and response centres can be proportionally distributed across the urban terrain.
  • A policy on earthquake preparedness will require avisionary, radical and transformative approach.

India’s vulnerability to various earthquake hazards requires smart handling and long-term planning.

Print Friendly and PDF