Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bhubaneswar ‘Re-assess Odisha’s seismic status’ ‘Re-assess Odisha’s seismic status’ SUNDAY, 17 JUNE 2012 22:41 SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR

 Bhubaneswar ‘Re-assess Odisha’s seismic status’
SUNDAY, 17 JUNE 2012 22:41
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In the wake of the recent earthquake with a magnitude of 3.9 in the Richter scale hitting Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts of western Odisha on June 9 last, considered as seismically quiet zone, former Sambalpur MP Bhabani Shankar Hota has demanded reassessment of the seismic status of Odisha, including the quiet zones.
The epicentre of the earthquake was Kalahandi. The known earthquake zone in western Odisha are Sambalpur-Talcher, Sambalpur-Jharsuguda and Talcher-Deogarh-Rourkela and past history has shown that the magnitude of earthquake in these zones has been limited to between 4.5 and 5.3 in Richter scale. However, no tremor ever occurred in Balangir-Kalahandi-Nuapada in known history.
So, there is an urgent need now to study the cause of the new phenomenon. Most of the reservoirs are mapped as seismically active zone. It has to be further investigated whether the Indravati project led to a rearrangement of seismic zone, Hota said.
Hota further said earlier Latur region in Maharashtra was also mapped as seismically quiet region and yet devastation occurred there due to an earthquake of a magnitude of 5.5 to 6 in the Richter scale in 1993 in which about 10,000 people had died. Hence, the Odisha Government should reassess the seismic status of Odisha, including the Balangir-Kalahandi-Nuapada region.
Similarly, NRO Professor Digambara Patra from the American University of Beirut has said the earthquake in Kalahandi, Balangir and Nuapada did not indicate that human activities like mining or dam had caused it.
“The regions come under lowest (Zone 1) seismic zones in India. However, Zone 1 does not mean it is no earthquake zone. But certainly, it is also not wise to link the minor earthquake with human activities as a few activists may overreact to suit their propaganda against industrialisation and dam. So steps should be taken both at the Government and private levels to build earthquake resistance buildings in the areas,” he said.

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