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Earthquake wake-up call for govt; need better building tech: Expert

The powerful earthquake in Nepal is a "wake up" call for the government to determine how it deals with such calamities, seismology experts have said while calling for urgent advancement in construction technology.

New Delhi: The powerful earthquake in Nepal is a "wake up" call for the government to determine how it deals with such calamities, seismology experts have said while calling for urgent advancement in construction technology.

The 7.9 magnitude quake on the Richter scale was the largest post-Independence earthquake to have hit this particular area of the Himalayas and led to tremors across large parts of the country, Dr Srinagesh, the Head of the Seismological Observatory and Chief Scientist at National Geophysical Research Institute said.

"This should be a wake-up call for the government. It should learn from this experience to introspect what all can be done and in what manner if a similar hazardous scenario unfolds in India," the scientist said.

He stressed on the need for advancements in construction technology so that buildings may be designed to withstand the impact of such natural disasters.

"Earthquakes do not cause as much damage to people as they do to dwellings and concrete structures. If our dwellings can be made earthquake resistant, there is a lesser likelihood of damage," he said.

As to the country's preparedness for dealing with such phenomena, Srinagesh said that a lot of instrumentation and technology has been put in place to study the occurrences of earthquakes.

"This is not the first time that an earthquake of such a large magnitude was felt. The 1934 Nepal and Bihar and 2001 Bhuj earthquakes have given us valuable inputs for facing such disasters.

"We have a system in place to handle such situations through constant education and awareness programmes for children in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand," he said.

"The areas which are more vulnerable to earthquakes have been given special focus for spreading awareness on how to handle such situations," Srinagesh said.

He said that education about dealing with calamities was a continuous process and should be taken up repeatedly.

"We have done major exercises in earthquake-prone states. A major drill was carried out in Delhi two years ago. But these need to be repeatedly done as people tend to forget," he said.

He, however, ruled out the possibility of any innovation which can help in the prediction of earthquakes.

"Prediction is not possible. Weather forecast gives a probability that something may or may not happen. But prediction for sure is not possible in case of earthquakes. Though we have the latest equipment across sensitive areas to study the causes and factors that trigger earthquake, the phenomenon itself cannot be predicted," said Srinagesh.