The Telegraph
Monday , April 9 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Net lash for safety defiance

April 8: The Assam Disaster Management Authority, which is carrying out a survey on the structural safety of schools in the city, is planning to upload the status of these buildings on the Internet if they fail to rectify their defects within a certain period of time.

The survey, being carried out by the civil engineering department of the Assam Engineering College, will cover around 900 schools, both government and private.

Officials associated with the project said about 30 per cent of the schools have been covered and the project, to cost Rs 30 lakh, is likely to be completed in the next few months.

“Once the survey is complete, we will try to identify the school buildings which are vulnerable to disasters and require additional structural support like retrofitting to prevent damage during disasters. The Assam Disaster Management Authority will first ask the school owners to correct the defects in the structures to make them safer. If the schools do not pay any heed and make the structural corrections, details of the structural condition of school will be uploaded on the Internet. Once they are uploaded on the Internet, people can log on and read about the condition of these building and put pressure on the school authorities to improve the structure. This is still in the planning stage and we will go ahead according to the survey findings and response from the school authorities,” an official associated with the project said today.

He said before uploading the status of the structure of the school buildings, the Assam Disaster Management Authority and the government department would hold discussions with the school owners.

Retrofitting of buildings helps modification of the existing structure to make them more resistant to seismic activity, ground motion, or soil failure because of earthquakes.

“Using different technical methodology, we are trying to identify the damage grades (grade I to grade V) of school and hospital buildings and will accordingly decide which requires retrofitting support. A building with grade V damage will not be advised to go for retrofitting as the cost will be more than constructing a new building,” the official said.

Normally, retrofitting costs around 25 per cent of the cost of the building.

“In case of government schools requiring retrofitting, the state government will support them and at the same time, private schools will also be provided guidance on ways to go for retrofitting and other safety measures,” the official said.

“Safety of the schools and hospitals are of prime importance in disasters situations,” the official said.