Draft disaster management plan: ‘Earthquake will wreak more havoc in city than N-bomb’

The Lt-Governor is expected to hold a meeting to discuss the draft plan in the first week of July, sources told The Indian Express.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | New Delhi | Updated: June 23, 2015 6:07 am
Delhi Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung has agreed to limit the plot area of primary and secondary schools to promote vertical growth. Delhi Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung

The Delhi government’s draft disaster management plan warns that should a powerful earthquake strike the national capital, it would wreck more devastation than a nuclear bomb explosion.

“Six minor earthquakes in 10 days sometimes is the precursor to a large one. The current local seismic behaviour is very similar to the one in Gujarat a few years back. The net effect can be more devastating than even a nuclear bomb in Delhi,” the draft, submitted to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) headed by Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung for approval, states.

“The Chinese centre for earth studies has a station in Tibet. The Tibetan monitoring systems are providing a similar reading in the Southeast of Tibet. Satellite mappings are also pointing towards some unusual seismic activities in the Delhi area. The epicentres for the small earthquakes are clustered around a series of local faultlines in Delhi,” it states.

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The authorities in Delhi had taken up the task of updating its disaster management plan soon after the tremors of the massive earthquake in Nepal were felt in the capital on April 25. The Lt-Governor is expected to hold a meeting to discuss the draft plan in the first week of July, sources told The Indian Express.

The draft plan states, “There is something called cycle of earthquakes. We looked into India’s major cycles. Delhi is due for a big one since 1999… It can come anytime during the next 70 years. If the small tremors subside and nothing happens for the next six months, probably nothing will happen for at least three years. However, when all evidences are put together, it does not look very good.”

For disaster preparedness, the draft plan proposes to put the onus of strengthening mobile towers on mobile service providers, a senior government official said.

“In order to ensure that communication networks do not collapse in the event of a disaster and rescue efforts are not crippled, we held a meeting with various mobile service providers and owners of mobile towers, and requested them to strengthen and retrofit these towers. The meeting was held last month. We have given them time to examine the financial viability of the proposition and get back to us,” Ashwani Kumar, secretary (revenue/disaster management), said.

According to officials, there are about 7,000 mobile towers in Delhi with a power back-up of 48 hours. But in order to enhance its disaster preparedness, the government has asked mobile service providers to increase their power back-up.

Recent tremors

1994: Minarets of Jama Masjid damaged by earthquake measuring 4 on Richter scale.

1999: 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Chamoli, 280 km from Delhi. Several buildings in city sustained damage.

2011 & 2012: Tremors of more than 4 magnitude felt in the capital.

2013: Four tremors measuring 2.5 to 3.3 on Richter scale struck Delhi.

2015: Strong tremors of 7.9 magnitude that hit Nepal felt all over Delhi and NCR.

Source: Draft Disaster Management Plan for Delhi 2014-15

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