‘DMRC Ignored Disaster Threats During Planning’
New Delhi: Lessons have not been learnt from past disasters, it seems. Delhi Metro, which ferries over two million passengers a day, is on a highrisk earthquake and flood zone and may lead to a huge loss of life in case of a disaster, says a recently released UN report on disaster risk reduction.
The Global Assessment Report (GAR), released by the United Nations office on disaster risk reduction, UNISDR, has also estimated the loss of revenue as over Rs 4,100 crore if a disaster had struck Delhi Metro in 2012. Despite awareness of earthquake and flood risk, much of the expansion of Delhi Metro has taken place in highly hazard-prone areas, the report adds.
“In terms of direct risks, more than 50 stations (phases I & II) are located in areas of high-earthquake hazard, exposing the line to earthquakes of up to a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale,” says the study, which was released on June 3 for the Asia-Pacific region. One of the stations was also built in a high-flood hazard area. In both cases, hazard information was available on municipal zoning maps, it says.
“As a result, the Metro line is exposed to high flood and earthquake risk even for shortreturn periods of one-10 years,” according to the assessment. It cites case studies, saying considerations for site locations were not governed or even directed by reasons of disaster risk — these were a result of other political economy questions. “Although measures may have been taken at the construction phase to address this risk, disaster risk reduction does not seem to play a role in the decisions at the time of planning,” the study says.
The report was based on a comprehensive risk assessment study carried out through Bangalore-based Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
The study warns of mass casualties in case of foreigners, too, who are travelling to India as more than 3,00,000 passengers from over 60 countries of the world are expected to use the Airport line per day once it is running at full capacity. In all, “over two million passengers are travelling per day on the Delhi Metro, a number that is larger than the population of about 100 countries in the world”, it says.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation claims its structures have been constructed keeping in mind the topology of the area. Besides, “all elevated structures have certification under BIS-1893, IRC, IIT Kanpur-RDSO guidelines, the highest safety codes for any elevated structure. The underground structures follow Japanese guidelines,” says a spokesperson.
The UN study, however, is not convinced. It says the direct risk to Metro stations and lines may have been reduced due to application of risk-sensitive building codes but this is not necessarily the case for new real estate developments surrounding the stations.
Delhi and Gurgaon fall in Zone IV (high earthquake risk zone), 50 stations (phase I and II) fall under high-hazard category.
Special land use changes and building bylaw exceptions made in the case of DMRC which have increased exposure to hazards.