The National Disaster Management Authority of India (NDMA) observer PP Srivastava warns that the most of the constructions in the state, which falls in the most vulnerable seismic zone, do not confirm to the national building code. He warns that it can enhance the chances of loss of life and property in case of an earthquake.

Srivastava also lamented the fact that people were giving up traditional forms of construction which could withstand major tremors as was evident from the Sikkim earthquake. He said that people purchasing houses in real estate projects to ensure that the structures were built to withstand earthquakes, especially in areas which fell in the most susceptible zones. He said the right kind of construction could minimise loss to a great extent and it was keeping this fact in mind that the Disaster Management Authority had urged the Reserve Bank of India to direct the bank to give house loans only to those who were building earthquake-resistant structures.

He said it was public awareness and sensitisation which could prove to be much more effective than pumping in funds towards disaster management. He added that the awareness must be start right from the school and college levels so that damage can be brought down by almost 70 per cent.

National coordinator of the NDMA Brig VK Khanna stressed the need for setting up disaster management committees right up to village level, especially in view of the fact that most parts of the state falls in the seismic zone IV and V, which are prone to tremors. He said at present 10 battalions of the Disaster Management Force were functioning and two more were being constituted.

Nandita Gupta, special secretary, Revenue, said Home Guards personnel would be trained as the Disaster Management Force. She added that Mahila and Yuvak Mandals would be trained to extend help during any kind of disaster.