GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - Renowned earthquake engineer Dr D K Paul, Professor Emeritus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, has said that 85 per cent of the nearly 304 million houses in India are vulnerable to earthquake. However, for Assam the redeeming feature is that around 94.8 per cent of its houses have low to very low vulnerability to earthquake, he said.
He also laid stress on the need to integrate the disaster resistant technology and the disaster risk management programmes with the government-sponsored housing schemes and all developmental programmes.
Prof Paul, who was delivering the keynote address at the two-day national seminar on disaster management organised by the Padmashree Chandraprava Saikiani Girls� Polytechnic here that ended today, maintained that because of the masonry and load-bearing brick structures, rubble in mud mortar or earthen walls etc., most of the houses are vulnerable to earthquake in other parts of the country, while the light-weight slope-roof structures of the houses in Assam have made them safer.
In this respect, he particularly praised the Assam Type houses. They have very sound structures, he said. But he regretted that now the people have started deserting these structures in Assam. It needs mention that India was found to have nearly 304 million houses in the 2011 census.
Prof Paul suggested that the building codes should be strictly adhered to whenever construction of any new building or infrastructure is undertaken and retrofitting of the existing weak structures should be done, to remove their structural problems. These steps are needed to overcome the challenges of earthquakes, he said.
In this respect he reminded that the United States of America has taken 80 years to retrofit its existing weak buildings and it is yet to complete the process. But, he regretted the fact that India is yet to start the process.
Moreover, he said India is lagging far behind in implementing the land use zoning regulations, building insurance schemes and it is not strictly adhering to the techno-financial and techno-legal aspects connected with construction activities.
In reply to a question, he said buildings should be properly designed, their construction should be properly monitored and all such procedures should be institutionalised.
The two-day seminar was organised in collaboration with the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and it was sponsored by the AICTE-NEQIP. ADGP Disaster Management Dr A P Raut inaugurated it and the inaugural function was also addressed by Dr Mridul Hazarika, Vice Chancellor Gauhati University, Dr PK Goswami, Vice Chancellor, Assam Science and Technology University, Dr Atul Bora, Director, Technical Education, Assam, Prof Paul and J P Saikia, a Gauhati University Executive Council member, among others.