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Earthquake prediction has Assam in a tizzy

Last updated on: September 07, 2006 18:04 IST

As newspapers on Thursday carried a story predicting an earthquake in Assam on Friday, panic has gripped the people of the state.

The prediction was made by Professor N Venkatanathan of Madras University, who has claimed that the earthquake is likely to hit Assam at 8.21 am on Friday.

Its epicentre, according to him, will be located somewhere near Dibrugarh in eastern Assam, where people are now very worried.

However, the Assam government has called upon the people keep their cool as it was 'hardly possible to predict a mega quake' in such a manner.

"We sent an SOS to the Union Home Ministry on Thursday morning requesting it to look into the veracity of the prediction from scientific point of view. They informed us that there was no veracity in it," said Dr Himanta Bishwa Sharma, a cabinet minister and spokesman of Assam government.

The government has asked the states to activate disaster management cells in all districts as part of preparation so that the people remain assured of government's concern.

The Northeast is considered one of the five major seismically highly active zones in the country. Scientists believe that the region is due for another mega earthquake because of strain building up since the 8.5 magnitude quake that rocked it in 1950.

The statement by Prof N Venkatanathan made in Banglaore on Wednesday predicted that there were 70 percent chances of an earthquake with a magnitude over 7 on the Richter Scale hitting the state on Friday morning
He claimed that the alignment of the sun, moon and Mercury on that day is similar to the one that existed on Aug 15, 1950, when the last mega earthquake with a magnitude of 8.5 on the Richter scale claimed thousands of lives in Assam, besides causing vast change to the topography of the state.

Prof Venkatanathan has, however, stated that the alert sounded by him was not an official warning but based on his theory that he has successfully tested for several years.

K Anurag in Guwahati