THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Earthquakes don’t kill, buildings do. Are the high- rise buildings in the city strong and preventive enough to withstand a possible earthquake? With Thiruvananthapuram city on the path of development amidst rising urbanisation, it is to examined whether the high-rise buildings mushrooming in the city are adhering to safety norms to counter the impact of any such tremors.
According to the report of the National Disaster Management Authority, Thiruvananthapuram is one of the cities located in the high earthquake prone area in the country. However, the authorities and builders feel that the city is safe compared with other cities in and outside the state.
According to the study of Centre for Science and Environment, lack of regulations for construction and monitoring of buildings makes a huge proportion of them unsafe.
In the study, it is found that the condition and quality of Indian building materials are poor in withstanding seismic activity. However, prominent builders in the city are prepared and confident enough to overcome if such situation crops up.
“Our quality of construction is very high compared to other states and we are keen on the structural stability. In fact, all the builders in the city have a qualified structural consultant who approves the final design after a soil test. During the test, if the land is found marshy, the piling will be done effectively for ground support. So the consultant has the authority to issue ‘stability certificate’ and then only the construction can proceed. If the government issues guidelines regarding the buildings based on the classification of seismic zones, we will implement the guidelines accordingly”,said Vinod P Nair, General Manager, projects, Artech builders.
“We are following earthquake-resistant system while designing a layout for the super structure. We use sheer walls that would provide a perfect anchoring for the building”, said Rajesh Krishnan, Assistant General manager, projects, Heera Builders.
Meanwhile, District town planner Ramachandran Nair told ‘City Express’ that the buildings in the city were safe and were constructed following rules and regulations. “We found no weakness in terms of the strength of the building. The key builders are having their own consultants and we will take the final decision only after their nod. Hence designers of the buildings have a big role and so that they should be competent enough to design a geofriendly building”, he said.
Experts pointed out that though the city was in the list of top ten earthquake prone cities, the possibility of tremors are too low . ‘’ In the wake of urbanisation and deforestation, the possibility of quake is not too far, “ said John Mathai, scientist, National Centre for Earth Science Studies.
A survey by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has found that in the last 25 years more than 25,000 human fatalities were caused primarily by collapse of buildings during earthquake in the country.