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'Northeast India should go for traditional housing'

Tripura,Business/Economy,Science/Tech, Mon, 09 Apr 2012 IANS

Agartala, April 9 (IANS) Quake-prone northeastern India should switch to traditional forms of house-building, including houses made of bamboo and cane, that are flexible and able to withstand tremors, said experts at a meet here.


Considering northeastern India's vulnerability to earthquakes, the experts at the Indian Building Congress (IBC) here Sunday called for strict adherence to the building code to make houses in the region quake-resistant.


"Reasons for earthquakes are well-known. The vital thing is strict adherence of the building code so that the damage can be mitigated to a certain extent during any medium or major quake," Director General of Central Public Works Department (CPWD) C.S. Prasad told reporters.


He said : "It is generally established that a tremor of different intensity hits one part of the region occasionally, but this periodicity or time of occurrence is not certain."


Ahead of the seventh annual general conference of the Tripura chapter of IBC, Prasad said that "periodic shifts of tectonic plates" in the mountainous northeast lead to earthquakes.


IBC is the apex professional body of civil engineers at the national level.


IBC's founder president O.P. Goel said that the traditional methods of constructing houses and buildings in northeastern states could be improved upon in terms of strength and durability, if reinforcement bars were used in every "joints and junctions" of the structures.


He said : "The traditional houses made of bamboo and cane are much more flexible in bearing quake shocks."


On the concept of 'green building', Goel said that the CPWD was trying to make sure all buildings in the northeastern region are 100 percent green.


"It is a recognised concept of making buildings environment-friendly and minimising depletion of natural resources. There are altogether 34 pre-conditions to be fulfilled for making a building 100 percent green," Goel added.


According to the renowned civil engineer, if 50 percent conditions of the green-building are met, the building is marked as one star while fulfilment of up to 70 percent of the preconditions makes it three-star and fulfilment of preconditions up to 100 percent makes it five-star.


Prasad said that the IBC in association with the IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Chennai had conducted a comprehensive nation-wide survey to find out quake-prone parts of the country in 2002 and suggested measures for making buildings earthquake-resistant.


"After the survey, three-volume books were published in 2005 suggesting detailed guidelines, architectural norms and types. These volumes have been circulated to departments of all the state governments and the Centre for implementation."


Besides, if there is any confusion, our experts and IIT professionals are always available to put in ideas and impart training on ways to construct quake-resistant buildings," Prasad said.


The Geological Survey of India had earlier notified that the northeastern region could experience a devastating earthquake as the region, according to seismologists, falls in Zone V, the worst quake-prone belt in the world.


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