34 earthquakes hit J&K, Ladakh since January

Srinagar, Jul 10: On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir was shaken by two fairly powerful earthquakes, bringing the total number of earthquakes to 34 since January.

The initial tremor’s epicentre was in the Doda region of J&K, and it took place at a depth of 10 kilometres.

At 5.43 in the morning, a second 3.6-magnitude earthquake with an epicentre once more in the Doda region struck. 8 km deep below the earth, it happened.

Kashmir is located in a seismically active area where earthquakes have wreaked devastation in the past.

According to the National Centre of Seismology (NCS), among these, 16 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 3.2 to 5.4 on the Richter scale occurred. The residents of the twin areas are afraid as a result of the regular earthquakes.

However, according to geological experts, the heightened seismic activity in the Himalayan area shouldn’t raise too many concerns.

Experts in Kashmir advocated for the adoption of the traditional Taq system (timber laced masonry) and Dhajji-Dewari system (timber frame with infill walls) for the construction of houses and other structures to minimise losses during earthquakes because the Kashmir region falls into the category of the highly earthquake-prone zone.

According to the Srinagar Master Plan 2015–2035, earthquakes cannot be prevented, but their effects can be lessened by implementing a variety of precautions.

Experts said that the Taq system (timber laced masonry) and the Dhajji-Dewari system (timber frame with infill walls) are two classic earthquake-safe building techniques that have been used for generations. This is especially true of the old city.

“Unfortunately in the present context these traditional earthquake-resistant construction practices have been replaced by the use of cement concrete structures,” the plan reads.

 “Buildings are being constructed in the city using load-bearing wall construction as well as RCC methods and are highly vulnerable to earthquakes as they lack both design and structural considerations, and often are constructed without adequate steps to ensure that modern materials gain their full strength through prescribed processes.,” reads the copy of Master Plan which has put in the public domain for 60 days to seek suggestions /feedbacks for the public.

Residential houses are mostly built by local masons without consulting experts. These structures completely lack the provision of required risk reduction features including seismic resistance features.

“ In order to mitigate the future catastrophe caused by earthquakes, following considerations should be strictly adhered to Building control regulations including permitted setbacks and floor area rations to be strictly designed and enforced,” it states.

“Traditional techniques of Dhajji-Dewari and Taq System for house construction to be integrated in planning in order to demonstrate their advantages over modern techniques with respect to the local conditions,” the draft  Plan reads.

“Building permissions to be granted as per the Indian Standards and guidelines for hazard safety i.e.; ARE: 1893-1984 ‘Criteria for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures’. Homogeneity in the form and structural design of the buildings to be promoted,” the Plan adds.

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