Draft Master Plan identifies vulnerable areas

Sukhna Choe, sectors 28, 29, 31, 47, 48, the reserved forest and the rehabilitation colonies at Mauli Jagran and Karsan Colony have been identified as areas vulnerable to hazards as per the Draft Master Plan prepared for the city.

The draft plan further states that the potential impact of disasters is higher at these neighbourhoods close to the Industrial Area and the Sewerage Treatment Plant. According to the Master Plan, these areas could bear the brunt of chemical spills, effluent discharge and fires due to their proximity to the industries while those residing near the sewerage treatment plant are vulnerable to sewer leakage, methane gas leakage and drinking water pollution.

Having identified the hazards, the Master Plan suggests that special care is required in these areas and advocates the need for a disaster management plan.

The hazard analysis aims at identifying critical facilities in Chandigarh like educational institutions, police stations, hospitals, fire and rescue stations that will play a crucial role in disaster response and recovery. The plan hence points out that these critical facilities need to be protected to ensure that disruption in public service is minimal during a disaster, whether natural or man-made.

Natural disasters have also been identified and set in order of priority with earthquakes topping the list. Chandigarh and its surrounding areas are highly prone to earthquakes and a mock drill was held recently to check UT's preparedness.

The Master Plan has recommended retrofitting and seismic strengthening of existing buildings in phases. It has proposed that all lifeline buildings such as major hospitals, schools with large space for storage, district administration offices and other vital installations should be retrofitted in the first phase while significant buildings should be given priority for seismic strengthening in the second phase. Retrofitting is the the process of strengthening older buildings.

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