Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal on Friday stressed the need for proper designing and earthquake-resistant construction of community halls in gram panchayats and setting up of a task force to handle exigencies.
The Chief Secretary was speaking at a workshop here, where he launched four schemes on disaster risk reduction: training for masons, carpenters and bar binders on hazard-resistant construction; structural safety audit of buildings; hospital safety; and creation of task force of youth volunteers.
He said the task force of 15-20 volunteers in each panchayat should be formed by imparting training to act as first responder in case of any disaster.
"A massive statewide awareness campaign should be launched so that people could know the vulnerability of disasters, mitigation and reduction measures," he said.
Nearly 90 per cent of buildings, mainly houses, in rural areas of Himachal Pradesh do not follow safe construction norms. In Shimla, 83 per cent out of a sample of 300 selected buildings are highly vulnerable in case of a strong earthquake, said a performance audit on disaster management conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2017.
Himachal Pradesh is prone to various types of disasters. Seven out of 12 districts have over 25 per cent of their areas falling in Seismic Zone V (very high damage risk). The remaining parts fall in Seismic Zone IV (high damage risk).
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