Though Amritsar was erroneously described as the epicenter of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, the tremors awakened the ‘unsuspecting’ authorities from the slumber on earthquake unsafe building structures and forced them to contemplate taking preventive measures against the seismic hazards.
Both the mayor of Amritsar Karamjit Singh Rintu and Chairman of the Amritsar Improvement Trust Dinesh Bassi decided to contact the subject experts and initiate a drive to identify the weak buildings which can’t withstand the tremors and construct earthquake-resistant buildings with the help of local architects and engineers given the fact that Amritsar along with adjoining districts lies in Zone IV which is called the high damage risk zone.
Rintu said, “Normally we issue notices to the unsafe buildings which are identified during a survey conducted ahead of the rainy season but now after the high intensity earthquake which shook the city, we have decided to seek earthquake experts’ advice both on identifying the earthquake unsafe buildings and for taking measures to enhance their seismic resistance.”
Notably, an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude Richter scale shook the city and it was reported that Amritsar and Tajikistan were it's epic center. The tremors were so strong that people rushed out of their homes to safety in open places. However, a little later it was clarified that Amritsar was not the epicenter of the earthquake but Tajikistan. There were no reports of any damage to buildings or causalities.
“Since Amritsar is being developed as a Smart City, so I am of the view that not only the thrust should be given on the construction of aseismic buildings to prevent any destruction caused due to earthquakes in the future but also the retrofitting measures could be deployed to augment the earthquake resistance of the existing building structures,” said Bassi, adding that he had also convened a meeting to discuss the issue.