Delhi Metro stations in high disaster-prone zone: UN study

Delhi Metro falls in a high-risk flood and earthquake zone and a huge loss of life and property may be caused if any of these natural calamities occur.

Updated: Jun 25, 2013, 13:29 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: According to a UN report on disaster risk reduction, Delhi Metro falls in a high-risk flood and earthquake zone and a huge loss of life and property may be caused if any of these natural calamities occur.

The Global Assessment Report (GAR) was released on June 3, 2013 for the Asia-Pacific region by the United Nations office on disaster risk reduction (UNISDR). It was based on a comprehensive risk assessment study carried out through Bangalore-based Indian Institute for Human Settlements.

About two million people travel on the Delhi Metro in a day on an average. The number is pretty huge and is larger than the population of about 100 countries in the world.
"In terms of direct risks, more than 50 stations (phases I & II) are located in areas of high-earthquake hazard, exposing the line to earthquakes of up to a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale," says the report. "The Metro line is exposed to high flood and earthquake risk even for short-return periods of one-10 years," according to the assessment.

Another fact to be noticed is that even after being aware of the high risk of earthquake and flood, Delhi Metro has grown its branches all over the city in the high prone areas, says the report. Municipal zoning maps had this information handy but no step was taken in view of the information.

Loss of revenue of approximately Rs 4,100 crore of the Delhi Metro is estimated if any of these calamities would have occurred in Delhi in 2012.

The Airport line is also in the high-risk prone area; hence, the probability of casualties of foreigners travelling in Delhi in case of these natural disasters is huge. Reportedly, another station is built on a high flood-prone area.
There are claims by the DMRC that the infrastructure is being made keeping in mind the high-risk prone areas. Besides, "all elevated structures have certification under BIS-1893, IRC, IIT Kanpur-RDSO guidelines, the highest safety codes for any elevated structure. The underground structures follow Japanese guidelines," says a spokesperson.

The report adds that the disaster risk prevailing on Metro stations may have reduced with the usage of risk sensitive building codes but the new infrastructural development around the Metro stations have been ignored completely.

But, many questions are being asked since the report states that the site locations and its topology were not taken into consideration. "Although measures may have been taken at the construction phase to address this risk, disaster risk reduction does not seem to play a role in the decisions at the time of planning," the study says.

It seems the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has not taken proper precautionary steps even after knowing the information completely and has not kept in mind the past experiences that Delhi faced in terms of natural disasters.