While an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the richter scale shook the city residents for nearly 40 second on Wednesday,another startling fact that it revealed was that despite being in seismic zone 4 category,the administration was ill-equipped to tackle such a natural disaster.
With the epicentre of the earthquake being in Baderwah in Jammu and Kashmir,tremors were felt in north India and parts of Pakistan. This was the third quake in the last 15 days.
During the earthquake,students of Sat Paul Mittal School,Tagore Public School,Kundan Vidya Mandir and BCM Arya Model were told to gather in the school ground. We were made to wait outside for around half-an-hour, said Rushank,a student of Sat Paul Mittal. We were asked to leave for home,as panic was created, said Kritika of Tagore Public School.
As per the disaster management rules,when a calamity strikes,all the government departments,district and local level,have to work in tandem to manage the situation,and the deputy commissioner controls the rescue operation and issue orders to all the departments.
The fire department and disaster management team play a major role,but unfortunately in case of Ludhiana,both are poorly equipped. While the fire safety department lacks all the speciailised equipment required during rescue operations,the disaster management team only has academic staff on contract basis.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline,Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said,Police department and DC office become responsible for all the management during a disaster and DC can issue orders to any department, even public,if required.
He added,In case of Ludhiana,we have four to five employees in the disaster management team under the research and rehabilitation department,but they are only for academic work,like preparing lists of equipment and vehicles required at the time of a disaster. They have nothing to do with actual rescue work when disasters strike.
The fire safety wing under the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation not only lacks the required number of fire brigade vans,but also those present have crossed their limit of use. It also does not have any specialised gas cutters,hammers and specialised equipment used during rescue operations. We do not have special equipment at present. A letter was sent to the state government regarding the same,but they are yet to arrive, said Bhupinder Singh,assistant divisional fire officer.