Home >politics >policy >Scientists urge industry to help develop earthquake mitigation technologies

New Delhi: Scientists and government officials on Friday urged industry participation in the development of earthquake sensor networks and earthquake mitigation technologies.

In the wake of the April earthquake in Nepal that killed at least 8,600 people, researchers, government officials and industry members came together to take stock of India’s preparedness for earthquakes and discuss mitigation measures.

The Nepal earthquake has provided evidence for the need for investing in constructing safer, earthquake-resilient structures and retrofitting older buildings, said Kamal Kishore, member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

“There are guidelines on engineering of buildings, but enforcement of these guidelines is important, which is dependent on the capacity of states," Kishore added.

The Bureau of Indian Standards has criteria for earthquake-resilient structures to ensure that structures are strong enough to withstand minor earthquakes that occur frequently; resist moderate earthquakes without significant structural damage; and withstand a major earthquake without collapsing.

Researchers and scientists across the country are working on early warning systems for earthquakes and mitigation technologies for making buildings earthquake-resilient.

In a ministry of earth sciences project, a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, are working on an earthquake early warning system in Uttarakhand. The team has set up 58 quake sensors in the state and will set up 42 more.

There are more than 66 active faults in India, and the Himalayan belt, extending 2,400km, is dissected by 15 major active faults, according to the seismotectonic atlas of India. Scientists believe that a great Himalayan earthquake of magnitude 7 or 8 is yet to strike the area.

“Himalayas need to be instrumented with a large number of sensors, hence the cost becomes an important factor. Right now we are in research mode, but we have no roadmap on how to make this system operational. We need active participation of industry for development of sensors and for the expansion of the network in required locations," said Ashok Mathur, a professor at IIT-Roorkee, who is leading the early warning system project.

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