SHILLONG, April 15 - Following the earthquake on Wednesday, the Government has decided to continue the safety audit of buildings in the State.
In fact, on Wednesday evening Chief Minister Mukul Sangma was in the midst of a press conference in the secretariat after a Cabinet meeting, when the tremor struck. As power was snapped, security, media and officials ran for cover. The tremor caused some minor damage to buildings in the State capital and in Jowai. However, no causalities were reported.
After the tremor subsided, Sangma said a safety audit of all buildings has become all the more necessary. He also added that high-rise buildings were not suited for Meghalaya, which falls in the high seismic Zone-V.
Sometime back, the Government started a safety audit of schools, hospitals and other Government buildings after the January 4 earthquake. This process of auditing the safety level is now being aggressively taken forward after Wednesday�s quake. East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner PS Dkhar said auditing of some of the old Government buildings and schools has been completed.
He added that the process to audit the other buildings would be completed soon. Notably, on Wednesday a fire gutted St. Peter�s School and it was found that there was hardly any room for the fire brigade to approach the area were the fire broke out.
Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) last year drafted a building bye-law. The rules, however, have been opposed in several parts of the State capital with traditional bodies and heads opposing it in their jurisdiction.
The Meghalaya High Court last year sealed several high-rise buildings as these violated MUDA bye-laws. The High Court took the decision after a PIL was filed against high-rise buildings in a highly seismic zone like Meghalaya.