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Quake engineering labs project takes a backseat in absence of funds

Even as the January 26,2001 earthquake gave birth to a new subject,‘earthquake engineering’,which was introduced in various engineering colleges across the state in 2005...

Written by Amrita Didyala | Ahmedabad |
April 14, 2009 5:06:08 am

Even as the January 26,2001 earthquake gave birth to a new subject,‘earthquake engineering’,which was introduced in various engineering colleges across the state in 2005,there is just one earthquake engineering laboratory in Gujarat.

This lone laboratory is at L G College of Engineering. The laboratory is used to test the sustainability of the construction models prepared and experimenting student models.

Though the department made a ‘project proposal’ in February 2008 to the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) for setting up such laboratories in colleges where civil engineering course is offered,there has been no progress so far due to lack of funds.

This is even as Gujarat happens to be highly prone to seismic activity. Kutch District Collector R R Varsani says,“At least one mild earthquake is experienced here in every seven to 10 days.” Leave alone the construction companies,even the students do not have access to learn the techniques for seismic hazard-proof construction.

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The institute had proposed to extend help in setting up of similar labs and 16 colleges where civil engineering course was offered were identified for the purpose.

Assistant professor at the Applied Mechanics Department,Chaitanya S Sanghvi,said: “A proposal to this effect was made to the GSDMA last year,but a problem relating to funds arose,which has not been resolved till date. The proposal demanded a cost input of Rs 48 to 55 lakh in the initial phase of development of the basic labs with models and shake tables to apply earthquake motion. Each shake table instrument costs about Rs 2.5 lakh.”

Sanghvi added that they would now send a proposal to the Director of Technical Education (DTE) through the Gujarat Technical University to incorporate the proposal within the DTE budget.

“Our proposal is to develop a cost effective basic laboratory for each civil engineering college so as to enable students to test the sustainability power of their models. We are also making a project proposal to the DTE next month for a research laboratory to be set up from the state government’s grant allotted to the L D College of Engineering,” he said,adding that the investment would be to the tune of Rs 7 to 8 crore. Under this,there would be separate lab buildings having special characteristics like reaction walls and strong floors,which would cost around Rs 3 to 4 crore.”

Rajeev Topno,joint CEO of GSDMA,meanwhile,said: “The proposal was received at the close of the last financial year,which is why it could not be cleared. It is under active consideration and we are evaluating its entire comprehensiveness. However,it would be difficult to comment at this point of time as to when would it get approved.”

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