Inaugurating a meeting of state ministers in-charge of Housing, Urban Development and Local Self-government on'Techno-Legal Regime for Safer Construction in Disaster Prone Areas, Jagmohan said the Centre had already taken the lead for Delhi in this matter.
A notification had been issued in February, inviting suggestions and objections from the public for amendment of building by-laws in Delhi. The period to receive these ended Tuesday and the Centre would be moving quickly to amend the by-laws in the national capital, he added.
The Union Urban Development Ministry is also drafting a law to provide for the compulsory registration and licensing of engineers, builders and promoters to enforce their accountability. This could be used as a model legislation by the states to enact similar laws, Jagmohan said.
Stressing the need for putting in place a techno-legal regime for safer construction, Jagmohan said several deaths could have been avoided in Ahmedabad in the January 26 earthquake if the builders had followed structural safety and soil testing norms.
The minister regretted that the country lacked a culture of prevention and preparedness and said his ministry was adopting a four-pronged initiative based on technical and legal regimes, enforcement and education and awareness to help build this culture.
To spread awareness about disaster-resistant technologies available in the country, the Urban Development Ministry would open building centres in different parts of the country. Thirty such centres are to be set up in Gujarat at a cost of Rs 45 million.
Jagmohan also released a Technology Dissemination Series compiled by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation and Habitat Polytech.
Chairman and Managing Director of HUDCO V Suresh said the series comprised 12 pocket books featuring cost effective technologies using local resources and developed by indigenous research and development centres.
Talking about the reconstruction of the quake-hit areas of Gujarat, Jagmohan said the ministry had drawn up a blue print for the complete re-planning and re-development of areas like Bhuj, Anjar, Rapar and Bachau, which had been completely devastated in the temblor.
Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary Manjula Subramanyam said the state had set up a disaster management authority under the chairmanship of the chief minister to prepare adequate relief and
Building centres set up with the help of HUDCO would start functioning from this week. The state was also going to adopt amended building by-laws and was also awaiting the Centre's draft bill on enforcing accountability of engineers and builders, she added.
The January earthquake had also laid bare the inadequate resources for mounting relief and rescue operations and the state would focus on revamping these, she said.
Earlier, in a presentation made to the delegates, the Indian subcontinent was described as among the world's most disaster prone areas. While 54% of the landmass was vulnerable to earthquakes, 8% was vulnerable to cyclones and 5% to floods.
About one million houses were damaged every year in disasters like floods and cyclones while hundreds were killed. All this imposed a terrible socio-economic cost on the country and its people. There was thus a need to shift the strategy from a post-disaster and reactive one to a pre-disaster and pro-active approach.
Gujarat quake and aftermath
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