India could be hit by massive earthquakes, says ToI report

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India could be hit by massive earthquakes, with a magnitude of 8.2 or greater on the Richter scale, a report in the Times of India newspaper said Wednesday. 

According to the ToI, MHA's National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), in an assessment following the Nepal quake, has warned of enhanced risk around the "ring of fire garlanding the entire north India especially the mountains". 

The report quoted the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA’s) disaster management experts as saying that quakes with a higher intensity than the one which struck Manipur on Monday are likely to hit the Himalayan region in future. 

A series of recent earthquakes – Manipur (January 2016), Nepal (May 2015) and Sikkim (2011) – which measured 6.7-7.3 on the Richter scale have re-ruptured tectonic plates that had developed cracks due to previous incidents, says the newspaper report. This has reportedly created conditions which might trigger massive earthquakes. 

NIDM director Santosh Kumar told the ToI that the interconnected plates across Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and India pose a bigger danger. Kumar predicted that a disaster of bigger magnitude could hit hill states, parts of Bihar, UP and even Delhi which fall under the second worst seismic Zone IV classification. The North-East and other hill states fall under severe seismic Zone V.

Kumar also said that the central government has taken steps to encourage the governments of all the hill states to adopt a common building code that is different from the rest of India.

According to the report, seismologist Roger Bilham from the University of Colorado said: "The current conditions might trigger at least four earthquakes greater than 8.0 in magnitude. And if they delay, the strain accumulated during the centuries provokes more catastrophic mega earthquakes."

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