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No quake threat to State structures: Expert

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, April 28 � Amidst the hue and cry raised by some circles, engineering experts and architects here declare that there is no earthquake-related threat to the engineered structures of the State. These structures have been built following the engineering norms set for earthquake-resistant structures in the Earthquake Code of India IS: 1893 � 2002, said Prof Jayanta Pathak of the Assam Engineering College here.

Prof Pathak, an expert in the area of structural engineering and seismic-resistant structures, while talking to this correspondent said that an earthquake of the magnitude of 8 or above in the Richter scale is considered in designing buildings and other infrastructures in the NE region as laid down in the Earthquake Code of India.

Engineers of the NE region are quite aware of the potential danger of a massive earthquake of the magnitude of 8 or above. There should not be any apprehension that all the buildings in Guwahati and other urban areas of Assam will collapse like a pack of cards in the event of such an earthquake, said Prof Pathak.

�We have seen even in Kathmandu many buildings withstanding the jolt of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, despite several others crumbling under the impacts of the massive tremor and its aftershocks.

�It shows that a building designed with the provision of the Earthquake Code (IS Code) can withstand major earthquakes, no matter where the epicentre is located and what is the depth of the quake,� he said.

However, he called for much care while constructing the RCC houses or buying such houses. It is the primary responsibility of those who build such structures and those who buy them, to ascertain that the structures are designed as earthquake resistant.

He further said that under the impacts of moderate to major earthquakes, buildings may develop distress or cracks in their non-structural elements like brick wall or plasters. These are acceptable even as per the Earthquake Code. One should not get panicked in the face of such developments. Such cracks just need to be repaired and are not threats to life.

However, cracks in the concrete of the beams and columns are to be taken seriously and services of an engineer should be requisitioned immediately to take care of such developments, said Prof Pathak.

President of the Association of Architects, Assam Tikendrajit Saikia told this newspaper that even in Nepal only load-bearing structures, which do not have RCC members like columns and beams, got collapsed. But the properly designed and built multi-storey structures remained unharmed in that country.

Guwahati buildings are mostly well-designed and built according to the IS Code. There should not be any apprehension of all the Guwahati buildings crumbling in the event of a massive earthquake. It may be asserted that the multi-storey buildings in Guwahati are safer than the small ones, he said.

However, buildings may tremble under the impact of the jolts of massive earthquakes. But, here, the point to be noted is that whether they have collapsed or remained intact. Cracks in the non-structural members may also develop in the buildings during such events. But they are not any indicator of the lack of earthquake resistance capacities of such buildings.

It is not fair to describe all the buildings of Guwahati and Assam as vulnerable to massive earthquakes. Such assertions should be avoided unless backed by any scientific proof, said Saikia.

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No quake threat to State structures: Expert

GUWAHATI, April 28 � Amidst the hue and cry raised by some circles, engineering experts and architects here declare that there is no earthquake-related threat to the engineered structures of the State. These structures have been built following the engineering norms set for earthquake-resistant structures in the Earthquake Code of India IS: 1893 � 2002, said Prof Jayanta Pathak of the Assam Engineering College here.

Prof Pathak, an expert in the area of structural engineering and seismic-resistant structures, while talking to this correspondent said that an earthquake of the magnitude of 8 or above in the Richter scale is considered in designing buildings and other infrastructures in the NE region as laid down in the Earthquake Code of India.

Engineers of the NE region are quite aware of the potential danger of a massive earthquake of the magnitude of 8 or above. There should not be any apprehension that all the buildings in Guwahati and other urban areas of Assam will collapse like a pack of cards in the event of such an earthquake, said Prof Pathak.

�We have seen even in Kathmandu many buildings withstanding the jolt of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, despite several others crumbling under the impacts of the massive tremor and its aftershocks.

�It shows that a building designed with the provision of the Earthquake Code (IS Code) can withstand major earthquakes, no matter where the epicentre is located and what is the depth of the quake,� he said.

However, he called for much care while constructing the RCC houses or buying such houses. It is the primary responsibility of those who build such structures and those who buy them, to ascertain that the structures are designed as earthquake resistant.

He further said that under the impacts of moderate to major earthquakes, buildings may develop distress or cracks in their non-structural elements like brick wall or plasters. These are acceptable even as per the Earthquake Code. One should not get panicked in the face of such developments. Such cracks just need to be repaired and are not threats to life.

However, cracks in the concrete of the beams and columns are to be taken seriously and services of an engineer should be requisitioned immediately to take care of such developments, said Prof Pathak.

President of the Association of Architects, Assam Tikendrajit Saikia told this newspaper that even in Nepal only load-bearing structures, which do not have RCC members like columns and beams, got collapsed. But the properly designed and built multi-storey structures remained unharmed in that country.

Guwahati buildings are mostly well-designed and built according to the IS Code. There should not be any apprehension of all the Guwahati buildings crumbling in the event of a massive earthquake. It may be asserted that the multi-storey buildings in Guwahati are safer than the small ones, he said.

However, buildings may tremble under the impact of the jolts of massive earthquakes. But, here, the point to be noted is that whether they have collapsed or remained intact. Cracks in the non-structural members may also develop in the buildings during such events. But they are not any indicator of the lack of earthquake resistance capacities of such buildings.

It is not fair to describe all the buildings of Guwahati and Assam as vulnerable to massive earthquakes. Such assertions should be avoided unless backed by any scientific proof, said Saikia.