Assam Govt orders evacuation from tilted building

GUWAHATI, Sept 23 – Revenue Minister Dr Bhumidhar Barman today reviewed the earthquake preparedness of the State in a meeting with the senior officials of the departments concerned. According to official sources here, the Minister directed the departments concerned to evacuate the residents from Jagabandhu Apartment in Bhangagarh area of the city, which tilted under the impact of the earthquake yesterday.

He also asked the officials concerned to enquire into the matters relating to the permission of the building and also to fix responsibilities for the purpose. If needed, actions should be taken against those found guilty, directed the Minister.

It was also discussed in the meeting as to how the city would be able to cope with the impacts of the earthquakes of greater magnitudes, if an earthquake of 6.2 in the Richter scale can result in cracks and tilts in its buildings.

The departments concerned should also take steps to identify the roads that require widening keeping in view the required width, which is at least 7.5 metres. Steps should be taken expeditiously to widen the roads up to the required limit.

Moreover, the Minister directed that speedy steps should be taken to retrofit the already identified weaker buildings, which include also the lifeline ones. Actions should also be taken in the case of the school buildings, which have been found unsafe. Many school buildings have been found unsafe, said the sources.

In the meeting, it was also decided to strengthen the communication system, the fire brigade services and the Civil Defence Orgainsation, said the sources.

The Revenue Minister also visited some of the affected buildings this evening and he was accompanied by senior officials of the Revenue Department.

Meanwhile, senior officials of the district administration visited the Fancy Bazar building which developed cracks under the impact of the earthquake yesterday.

However, the cracks which developed in a Machkhowa FA Road building have been attributed to construction defects and the cracks in the building developed much before the earthquake, said district administration sources.

Geologist D K Barman of the Directorate of Geology and Mining attributes the tilt in the Bhangagarh building to the carelessness or ignorance of the builders about the existence of a thick layer of plastic clay up to the extent of about 300 feet below the surface.

However, the cracks that developed in some of the city buildings under the impact of yesterday’s earthquake were due to faulty construction, he said.