The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 14 , 2014
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Lessons in earthquake-proof edifice

- Govt to impart training to engineers & contractors for stronger buildings

The government intends to educate engineers for an earthquake-proof state.

A training programme for engineers, contractors and architects of different government departments across the state would start in the latter half of the year.

While announcing the start of Earthquake Minimisation Week from January 15, Anil Kumar Singh, the vice-chairman of the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) said: “At present, 500 people are being trained on earthquake-resistant infrastructure and it should be completed by May.”

He was, however, quick to add that the 500 people being trained would be part of a bigger training session.

“At present, it’s a training for the trainers. The BSDMA, in co-ordination with the disaster management department and other government agencies, has roped in experts for the training programme. Around 500 people from different state government departments that deal with construction have been selected for a training on the various aspects of making earthquake-resistant buildings,” Singh said.

He added that experts from prestigious institutions such as the IIT-Patna are training them.

“Their training programme will end in May. After the session they will be sent to the districts to train junior- and senior-level government engineers, contractors and architects. The training programme would continue for two years. The idea is to ensure that all future government buildings are earthquake-proof,” the official said.

Bihar had had its tryst with earthquakes earlier. Madhubani, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura, Sitamarhi and parts of Darbhanga fall under Zone-V, which is referred to as very high damage risk zone.

Districts like Patna, East Champaran, West Champaran, Sheohar, Chhapra, Siwan, Gopalganj, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali fall under Zone-IV, which is considered to be a high damage risk zone. Around 24 districts fall under this zone.

“The second phase of the training session would be for masons. Once the engineers and contractors are trained, the masons would be imparted training,” Singh said.

In 1934, a massive earthquake measuring more than 8 on the Richter scale hit Sitamarhi and Darbhanga.

“The earthquake had hit Nepal too. Around 30,000 people had lost their lives. Bihar is earthquake-prone and for safety, it is the people who need to take the initiative,” he added.

Recently, the chief secretary had written letters to all the departments which are related to construction to ensure that buildings are raised follow the government guidelines and are earthquake resistant.

The BSDMA would also observe a Flood Safety Week from June 7 this year.