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Himachal Pradesh buildings vulnerable to collapse, do not follow safety norms


SHIMLA: Nearly 90 per cent of buildings, mainly houses, in rural areas of Himachal Pradesh do not follow safe construction rules. In Shimla, 83 per cent out of a sample of 300 selected buildings are highly vulnerable to collapse if there is a major earthquake.

This is the frightening reality of a performance audit on disaster management, with specific focus on earthquake and fire, conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to ascertain the state’s preparedness.

There are 1.477 million houses (166,000 urban and 1.311 millionrural) in the state as per the 2011 census, the auditor said in a report tabled in the state assembly last week.

It said construction of houses in urban areas is regulated by the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, the Municipal Corporation Act and local bodies’ regulations and building bye-laws.

However, construction of buildings and houses in rural areas (89 percent of total houses) is not regulated by any act or regulation. Construction of seismic-resistant buildings in rural areas has, thus, not been ensured as of June 2016, the CAG observed.

Himachal Pradesh is prone to various types of disasters. The central government has identified 25 types of hazards to which the state is prone.
This is a wake-up call for authorities as seismic sensitivity of the state is high. Seven out of 12 districts have over 25 per cent of their area falling in seismic zone V (very high damage risk).




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