FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Scientific research Beyond: Gorkha earthquake
Posted:Apr 24, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
It has been two years since the Gorkha earthquake devastated central Nepal. As the country prepares to commemorate the second anniversary of the earthquake, tarps are not yet wrapped and two freezing winters and two torrential monsoons have already passed. Recently the National Reconstruction Authority vowed that
 
Recently the National Reconstruction Authority vowed that two thirds of the houses constructed after the Gorkha earthquake are non-earthquake-resistant and the looming shake may also disfigure whatever was raised above the ground following the devastating events of 25 April and 12 May, 2015.
 
The crucial quest is, are the remaining one third buildings quake proof? If so, what level of shaking they are meant to sustain? It’s outrageous, most of the so-called quake proof housings are not compliant with the impending seismic hazards in Nepal and none till date has dared assure that such buildings can assure “life safety”, what everyone expects worldwide during earthquakes even though slight but non-fatal damage may occur on structures.
 
Virtually, no progress has been seen in terms of “earthquake resistant construction” since the 1988 Udyapur earthquake. Immediately after the event, an engineer Dr. Satyendra Gupta prepared a detailed report along with some counter measures for interventions in the following days, and it should be brainstormed why, with such progress in structural earthquake engineering and technology, we are still forced to revolve around that?
This will open discussions as to whether we are going northward or not. Improved housing past to present constructions can’t be termed exactly earthquake resistant in Nepal and was not discussed after the 1988 or 2015 earthquakes; rather Brahm Shamsher Rana mentioned improved techniques in his famous account “Nepalko Mahabhukampa 1990 BS” wherein he has mentioned the selection of proper construction sites to use proper materials, among other things.
 
A grave concern herein is how northward we are going in the 21st century. For instance, after the 1934 great quake in eastern Nepal the then government managed 95% of the total fund internally and prioritized reconstruction with full-fledged efforts and our forefathers handled everything.
It’s sarcastic if not pitiful that the victims of the 2011 earthquake in eastern Nepal are reported to be waiting for support still. This indicates which direction and priority we have.
 
Several people from their platform are warning the government and stakeholders not to be overly dependent on emotional reconstruction models and housing prototypes.
 
The priority is important while choosing between safety or other things. Politics was the first hindrance to reconstruction followed by technocratic indifference. People were warned not to construct houses before models were developed, but the National Reconstruction Authority says that two thirds of the houses do not fulfill the requirements, and those which do are not sufficient.
 
A must-do by the public is to ask if they are assured safety and to what extent from future quakes and after how many years they are supposed to strengthen/repair or reconstruct their house and who is insuring for such periodic strengthening as well as reconstruction.
One side that is always forgotten and neglected is scientific research and the absorption of outcomes of scientific researches in Nepal. The government, academic institutions and other agencies don’t care about scientific researches, neither are they sagacious to spend on scientific researches.
 
Scientific researches in the Nepali scenario are not even considered during or before reconstruction kicks off. And it is not assured that the scientific progress made for Nepali structures will be enforced in the future. Rooted bureaucracy and dictated way of “We do this in this way irrespective of progression” need to be changed.
 
Better models would have been developed with scientific modeling for rural buildings as well as any other types of housing.
 
However government, reconstruction authority and government line agencies merely held consultations when people put forth their own ideas to highlight their so tagged ‘earthquake resistant’ models and none provided a reliable basis. It is easy to propose reinforcement bars for Barpak but what happens when the budget of steel to be used in a house is higher than that of overall construction and government subsidy?
Exemplary reconstructions do exist on earth: the reconstruction efforts and successful accomplishments after the Lisbon and Emilia-Romagna are some. Our reconstruction has not been as per expectation. The problem is not with the ongoing discussions, but the root of the problem lies within the existing building regulations.
 
It is high time for Nepal to formulate a reliable, applicable and self-sufficient building code at least in the aftermath of the Gorkha earthquake.
As public safety is the highest priority for any nation, formulation of an accountable and reliable building code is an integral part of assuring public safety against several natural as well as anthropogenic forces. Blaming the public for not following the regulations doesn’t sound convincing,. and it is the concern of the government to enforce efficient civil protection measures.
 
The Himalayan Times, April 25, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
Senior representatives from the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan met in Muscat, Oman, on Monday to revive stalled peace talks with the Taliban, but the insurgent group failed to participate in the meeting being held after a year.
 
read-more
Ruskin Bond’s first novel ‘Room on the Roof’ describes in vivid detail how life in the hills around Dehradun used to be. Bond, who is based in Landour, Mussoorie, since 1963, captured the imagination of countless readers as he painted a picture of an era gone by.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
Braid-chopping incidents have added to the already piled up anxieties of Kashmiris. Once again they are out on the streets, to give vent to their anger. A few persons, believed to be braid-choppers were caught hold by irate mobs at various places. They were beaten to pulp.
 
read-more
China has witnessed great historic changes in the past five years from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to the upcoming 19th CPC National Congress.
 
read-more
In a move lauded worldwide, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud recently issued a royal decree allowing women to obtain driving licences.
 
read-more
Recently, United States President Donald Trump kicked the onus of the US backing out of the Iran nuclear deal to the US Congress. The question is how we interpret this technically, in terms of domestic politics and in terms of geopolitics.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive