DECCAN HERALD Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Koyna dam region is a ticking time bomb

MUMBAI, Sept 5 (UNI)

The spate of earthquakes over the recent months in the Koyna dam region, has taken the shape of a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode even as panic-striken people have time and again pleaded before the authorities to come up with a permanent solution for the problem.

The Koyna Dam region is no stranger to earthquakes as tremors are a common occurance here happenning nearly every week but in a milder manner. In fact, studies and research in the field reveals that approximately 1000 earthquakes occur every day around the globe with a magnitude of two on the Richter scale and the year sees lakhs of quakes taking place on a mild scale with low recordings in the scale.

Koyna has a history of a quake related tragedy as it was on December 11, 1967 that the 'Koynanagar earthquake` claimed 110 lives and rendered at least 10,000 people homeless injuring another 1500 people. Till date a total of 1,33,639 quakes have been recorded since the first quake of which the first one was above 6.5 in magnitude. There were nearly 77 shocks above four in magnitude, 16 shocks of above 5 magnitude, while today`s shock was 5.2 in magnitude, sources said.

The worst-ever quake to hit the state was way back in 1993 when the twin regions of Latur and Osmanabad experienced a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 on Richter scale killing nearly 15,000 people and destroying property worth lakhs of rupees. The entire region was under scrutiny after that as the state government took immedidate steps to rehabilitate the affected and then made elaborate plans regarding the kind of houses to be built following frequent complaints of tremors from the region.

Koyna, now sits on a similar time-bomb with tremors being experienced everyday, adding to the growing scare in the minds of the people. Scientifically dam areas are more susceptible to quakes due to the pressure of water on the earth, which is not true vice-versa. Major quakes in the world have occured in the most unexpected of regions and killed crores of people the worst being the China quake in 1976 which killed more than two lakh people.

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