Chenab valley quakes not due to hydro projects: Scientists

Jammu, Oct 7 (IANS) A team of earthquake experts, making an on the spot assessment of recent earthquakes in the Chenab Valley areas of Jammu region, Monday denied hydro projects had set off the tremors.

A team of eight seismologists, headed by Kashmir University Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmed, reached Doda town to assess recent seismic activity being observed in the region.

Addressing a meeting of the district administration, local engineering department officials, media persons and prominent citizens, Ahmed said as per available data on the depth of epicentre of recent earthquakes and aftershocks, it seems that the local hydro-electric power projects are not responsible for the seismic activity as their water reservoirs cannot reach to that extent.

Ahmed, an earth scientist himself, said the team will study the nature and type of rocks in the region and demarcate locations for installing sophisticated equipments to monitor seismic activity, even small movement of earth plates.

He also said as the entire Himalayan region being an active seismic zone, there is a need to take precautionary measures to minimize loss of life and property in such eventualities.

School and college students must be made aware through workshops about the precautionary measures to be taken in advance and during such calamities, he urged.

Other earthquake experts also spoke during the meeting.

Thanking the seismologists' team for their visit to the region, the district magistrate said that the cautionary steps and precautionary measures shared by the experts will be implemented effectively in the district to deal with such natural calamities.

The entire Chenab Valley region has been experiencing earthquake activity since the beginning of this year. Scores of houses and government buildings including schools and offices have become unlivable due to the damage caused by the earthquakes and aftershocks being witnessed in the region.

There had been a common belief in Chenab Valley region that construction of hydro-electric power projects in the area had been responsible for the earthquakes in these areas.

In many far-off villages of the region, people have been spending nights under open skies and the forthcoming winter is causing a major concern to such families.

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