GUWAHATI, Sept 18 - Altogether 22 municipal wards of Guwahati do not have adequate size of open spaces, while one ward has no open space at all. All these are the matters of serious worry so far as the city�s preparedness for a massive disaster like an earthquake of high magnitude is concerned.
Guwahati, located in the most vulnerable seismic Zone � V and having a municipal area of 216 square kilometres (sq km), is facing an increasing urban seismic risk with its growing population and urban activities.
According to the Atlas on the Open Spaces of Guwahati City 2016, prepared by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation�s (GMC) ward number 2 (size of deficit = 23213.31 square metres � �sq m� in short), no. 3 (29829.16 sq m), no. 4 (24896.07 sq m), no. 8 (24069.27 sq m), no. 11 (32967.15 sq m), no. 12 (32717.74 sq m), no. 13 (11406.19 sq m), no. 14 (36063.44 sq m), no. 15 (37801.13sq m), no. 16 (31112.11 sq m), no. 17 (38743.25 sq m), no. 18 (46564.45 sq m), no. 19 (23939.95 sq m), no. 20 (51070.78 sq m), no. 22 (24849.35 sq m), no. 23 (21106.90 sq m), no. 24 (29837.83 sq m), no. 25 ( 59254.82 sq m), no. 26 (38110.10 sq m)), no. 28 (18479.58 sq m), no. 29 (57652.32 sq m) and no. 31 (26426.21 sq m) have deficit open spaces. Ward no 7 has no open space at all.
The ASDMA has stated that the city�s infrastructure is average with the newly-constructed high-rise buildings and very old structures. Most of the buildings in the city are not designed to be earthquake resistant and hence the mapping of open space is of very much importance.
The ASDMA mapped the open spaces in the city with a view to assessing the availability of open ground for setting up shelter in the likelihood of an earthquake of high magnitude, as the city is densely populated.
Under the study carried out to prepare the Atlas, 182 open spaces were mapped, based on the available satellite data from Google Earth, which was followed by field verification for the purpose.
Moreover, while calculating the total open spaces required for accommodating a total population in a given area, a standard of 3.5 square metres per person was followed by the ASDMA.
The 31 municipal wards of the city together have 2,29,716 households with a total population of 9,57,351.
The total size of the city�s available open space area is 1.099 sq km and the total deficit in this regard is 0.709 sq km, which is 528.914 while converted into bighas, the ASDMA said.
In this respect, the ASDMA has stated that the deficit open space has been calculated assuming that 50 per cent of the total population in a ward will get affected in the event of a massive earthquake.
Seventy-five of the 182 open spaces in the city are either playgrounds, or open spaces preserved by educational institutions. Next to it comes 24 open spaces preserved by religious places. This is followed by 21 plots of land lying vacant and used as playgrounds or open spaces.
There are 12 open spaces in and around the city�s government establishments. The stadiums in the city have 10 open spaces. Sanghas or clubs preserve eight open spaces and there are six open spaces in the defence area. The Guwahati Central Jail has two open spaces.
One of the open spaces is an apartment open area, seven of the open spaces are not named, while there are four open spaces in and around hospitals.
Each of a hotel, a marriage hall and the Gauhati Gaushala has a plot of land as open space on its campus, while there are four parking areas, which could be used as open spaces. Two parks are also there to be used as open spaces.
The city has three resorts, which are also treated as open spaces by the ASDMA while carrying out the study.