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Earthquake-prone Zone-V Tripura : Structural safety audit of buildings in cold-storage
Anirban Datta
Earthquake-prone Zone-V Tripura : Structural safety audit of buildings in cold-storage
PHOTO : GSHAP (Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program ) Map showing Tripura and Mizoram in high risk Zone V. TIWN / Source Seismic India

Tripura is reluctant to comply with the safety direction to counter earthquake like natural calamity. It was December 2008 when National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has decided to retrofit a hospital and a school building in Tripura considering a possible high intensity earthquake in Northeast. But asked the state govt to conduct a structural safety audit on existing constructions in the state before go for retrofitting he old buildings.

Except Ujjyanta Palace and Neermahal, Tripura government could not do the safety audit. Instead in the name of retrofitting the complete historical structure of Maharani Tulshibati School, U K Academy and MBB College so far has been demolished.

Endless list of dumb exercises by different Govt Departments under the leadership of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar keeps growing in Tripura.

The historical monument of IGM Hospital, which was planned by Royal family to make a medical college in last century, the overwhelmed left architects entirely destroyed the beautiful structure of historical V M Hospital and now it is a white building in the heart of Agartala without minimum health care facilities.

The then NDMA Vice-Chairman former Chief of Army Staff Gen (Retd) N C Viz during his visit to Tripura informed that the centre has taken major steps for capacity building of all stakeholders regarding disaster management.

NDMA had suggested all the state govts to set up it’s own NDRF besides, adequate training to police, paramilitary forces, civil defence activists, student and other stakeholders of the state to ensure prompt action during and after any natural disaster.

With the central fund, Tripura government had taken initiative to constitute village level Disaster Management Teams at panchayat level in the midst of the expert’s prediction of severe natural calamity in coming days but all went in vain.

As per the assessment of Geo-Naturalists beside possibility of heavy storm and flood in next years Tripura fell into the fifth zone, which catagorised hypersensitive earthquake region of the country.

According to report, Central government sanctioned two subsequent projects for imparting adequate training among the villagers and civil officials to handle both manmade and natural disaster. And approach and management strategies of disaster have already been incorporated in school curriculum while Environment Studies begin from class VI standard.

The state government introduced Geographic Information System (GIS) to study environment and mapping the state’s residential status while a separate regulation has enacted for building and construction in thickly populated areas and the permission of multi-storied structure has already been canceled. But all are now mal functioned.

The Dauki Fault which follows the international border of India and Bangladesh in Meghalaya passes though northern sections of Tripura. The other major threat is from the Madhupur Fault in Bangladesh. However, it must be stated that proximity to faults does not necessarily translate into a higher hazard as compared to areas located further away, as damage from earthquakes depends on numerous factors such as subsurface geology as well as adherence to the building codes.

According to GSHAP data, the states of Mizoram & Tripura fall in a region of high to very high hazard. As per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map, both states fall in Zone V. 

The Geologists considered that Tripura has high probability of earthquake because sedimentary rock underneath and most area are under 1st order topography of marine origin.

Anirban Datta is a Columnist based in Tripura. Views expressed are personal.

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