Experts have said that Chennai will have to be reclassified as a more susceptible area for earthquakes. Chennai is currently placed in Zone III in the seismic map. Ongoing studies have indicated an increase in seismic activities and the non-uniformity in the soil characteristics across the city. Therefore the city will be placed in a zone higher than Zone III.
The GSI have been conducting extensive geo-physical surveys and mapping Chennai's soil strength and composition for the last one year. The results point to parts of North Chennai more at risk to quakes than South owing to higher thickness of sediments made of clay and sand. A similar study performed by Anna University a couple of years ago marked places like Guindy, Vadapalani, Nungambakkam, Vysarpadi and Adyar as high risk areas. The enduring mapping process by GSI will be completed by 2009 and after that the BIS will assign new ratings to the city.
The State Government has already realized the plight of the city and is taking measures to prevent possible mishaps in the future. Training is going on for officials of the state at the National Institute of Disaster Management in Delhi. Civil engineers, architects, masons and bar benders will be made aware of the quake-proof construction techniques. The PWD will join hands with the IIT to conduct visual screening of old buildings and perform ultrasonic pulse velocity testing to identify the weaker buildings. Anna University is working on a quake simulation software for disaster mitigation and management. The private builders should also co-operate with the government and assume responsibility towards welfare of their customers. So next time you buy a flat or a home for yourself make sure that the building is quake-proof.