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Tsunami warning system in 2-1/2 years: Sibal
January 03, 2005 18:58 IST
India will take speedy action to install a tsunami warning system at a cost of Rs 125 crore and it will be fully functional in two-and-half years, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Ocean Development Kapil Sibal has said.
"The system is called DART - meaning Deep Ocean Assessment and Report System - and it will give a true and accurate prediction of tsunami, like in the Pacific Ocean," Sibal told a BBC Hindi programme on Sunday night.
Sibal said his ministry would be organising an international conference on January 21, which would be attended by reputed scientists and seismologists. "There is going to be brain-storming session, keeping the problem in mind."
When a questioner pointed out that Tsunami had hit Andamans in 2002 also, the minister said: "When the quake hit Indonesia, we had information about it. What we did not have information about was the tsunami. Normally when a quake hits Sumatra or Japan, it has no effect on any part of India.
"When there is any information, there is a procedure to be followed. Till the time we have complete confirmation we can't jump the gun. It was the tsunami, which did all the damage and it was not known beforehand. So far as this 2002 thing is concerned, there is no information and record in my ministry of this."
Asked specifically why Indian scientists, despite various scientific achievements to their credit, failed to effectively deal with natural disasters, Sibal said, "There have been some natural phenomenon, for which science has not been able to find an answer till now."
To a specific question on how the government is going to improve forecasting system to deal with earthquakes and natural calamities, Sibal said, "We are working on a policy which is being called micro-zonation.
"When that is crystallized we would be in a position to tell in the entire 200 km stretch of Himalayas where the soil is rocky and where it is soft, on the basis of which we would be able to tell which area would be the most susceptible."
It would give an idea of the safety measures required to be adopted in specific quake prone areas. "We have already completed this process in Jabalpur and it is going on in Delhi. Mass awareness is definitely required on this front."
He agreed that India needed to learn from countries like Japan, which had constructed houses in conformity with the quake-prone designs. "The foundations of houses are specifically designed to shift on their own during a quake to minimize damage."
The prime minister and the Planning Commission have assured his ministry that the present expenditure for scientific equipments would be hiked. "At present, it is 0.9% of the GDP. It would be brought up to 2%. It is going to be done soon. The present government will spend the required money for science and for people's security. It is our priority."