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Gujarat to set up quake memorial in Bhuj

Joydeep Ray  |  Ahmedabad 

Three years after the devastating earthquake that rocked Gujarat in the morning of January 26, 2001, the state government is planning to set up an exclusive and a world-class memorial at Bhuj in Kutch district, which was the epicentre of the tremor.
The museum and the memorial will be constructed in the lines of the set up at Hanshin Awaji (Kobe) in Japan in April, 2002.
The government has sought private participation for the project and its nodal agency, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, has recently floated invitation for expression of interest.
"The state government was earlier planning a memorial park, Smriti Van, at Bhuj to pay tributes to the 13,805 people who lost their lives in the quake. We have now decided to develop an exclusive museum apart from the memorial," P K Mishra, managing director of the authority, said on Thursday.
"The museum will have a permanent exhibition featuring several aspects of the tremor, rescue operations, damage suffered, reconstruction and restoration of infrastructural facilities after the quake," Mishra said.
The authority, formed for rehabilitation, reconstruction and long-term disaster mitigation planning, had been chosen for the UN Sasakawa Award-2003.
"We had sought active private participation in rebuilding the quake-affected areas of the state and a number of companies, both big and small, helped us. We seek private participation for this project also. The work on the museum is expected to be completed in a couple of years with funding also from the authority," he said.
According to government estimates, 13,805 people had been killed in the earthquake and many are still missing.
However, unofficial estimates say over 15,000 people were killed in the quake that measured 6.2 on the Richter scale. Apart from the museum, the memorial will have 13,805 trees planted at its premises.

First Published: Fri, April 16 2004. 00:00 IST