NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to ensure that all real estate projects launched in the country prominently display the earthquake-resistant category in which they fall and also explain the connotations of the category as defined by the government.
Justices Madan B Lokur and R Banumathi gave the directive on Friday after hearing a PIL filed by Sandeep Donald Shah, the country head of Miyamoto International, an earthquake and structural engineering firm, seeking directions from the court regarding educating the public about the different kinds of earthquake resistance in buildings.
Shah had cited in court a story published in ET in October 2014 with the headline "Towers with Open Ground Storey Car Parking Unsafe" in which the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) spoke of norms which should be followed in building high-rises.
The petitioner argued that the government and the NDMA have shunned responsibility and have been blaming others when it is their responsibility to create public aware ness about earthquake safety.
"The respondents are making a desperate attempt to divert attention from the core issue of generating public awareness on earthquake safety which will save millions of lives when earthquake strikes as the occupantsusers of these buildings will exactly know which category of earthquake resistance their building belongs to and how they should respond and react, which is, choose to stay inside or run out into open ground," Shah said in court.
Shah also pointed out that the NDMA has not yet disseminated the knowledge of the four categories of earthquake resistant buildings to the Indian population so that they can get to know how they are supposed to react when an earthquake strikes. This is crucial to minimising casualties, he argued.
The NDMA, he said, was claiming that these guidelines were prepared in 2010 and were still under discussion with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). "Even as per the existing consumer protection laws, this information needs to be disseminated to the population at large. It is not being done at the moment and neither is it being enforced by the government," Shah told ET.
The four categories of earthquake resistant buildings are Earthquake Resistant-Operational, Earthquake Resistant-Immediate Occupancy, Earthquake Resistant-Life Safety and Earthquake Resistant-Collapse Prevention.