ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gujarat : Earthquake Plan Prepared in Haste

The rehabilitation package, prepared in unhealthy haste by the government, is based on conventional bureaucratic understanding and interpretation of people's needs and priorities. While it is incredibly vocal about estimates of damage, the specific delivery mechanisms are unclear. Also, it completely ignores the problems of economic rehabilitation of the survivors.

A major earthquake hit Gujarat on January 26 at 0846 IST, about 110 km north-north east of Jamnagar, with the epicentre at village Lodai near Bhuj in Kutch district. It measured 7.7 MS, i e, 6.9 ML on the Richter scale. Mumbai and Delhi as well as Karachi and Peshawar in Pakistan, and some parts of Nepal too felt the tremors. It was reported that the earthquake occurred along an approximately east-west trending thrust at a shallow (less than 25 km) depth. In terms of intensity, the Gujarat earthquake was the largest after the one in a remote area in the Assam-Tibet border that occurred on August 15, 1950 measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale.

While damage assessment surveys are still on under various initiatives (there are about 200-odd such surveys reportedly going on in Kutch), preliminary exercises showed that damages in five talukas in Kutch - Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau, Rapar and Gandhidham - accounting for about 64 per cent of the districts population, are extensive. Besides Kutch, the districts of Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Rajkot and Patan also had to face the wrath of nature. In all, 21 districts, 182 talukas and 7,904 villages are reportedly affected by the earthquake, covering nearly a third of the states population. In Ahmedabad the casualties were largely due to collapse of high- and low-rise residential complexes (numbering about 100), most of which were new constructions in the fast developing parts of the city and its busy and lively suburbs.

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