Seismic Activity Monitoring In J&K Still A Dream

Seismic Activity Monitoring In J&K Still A Dream

17 April 2013
Kashmir Times
Saniya Mukhtar

Srinagar: The state government does not seem to have learnt a lesson from the death and destruction cause by the earthquake in 2005. This is evident from the recently released report of CAG on Industries and Commerce (Geology and Mining) Department. As per the report, the objective of monitoring seismic activity in the state on regular basis through establishment of the seismological observatory could not be achieved. The departmental authorities failed to finalise process of procurement of Broadband seismograph for over three years due to which the seismological observatory at Tanghdar (Kupwara) could not be established. It also led to unproductive expenditure of lakhs of rupees. The report stated that after the earthquake that hits the state in October 2005, an international workshop of geo-scientists was organized (March 2008) by the State Geology and Mining Department during which a need for establishment of seismological observatories at different locations in the state was felt for monitoring of seismic activities on regular basis. Audit scrutiny (January 2012) of records of the Director, State Geology and Mining Department, Jammu revealed that as a follow up to the workshop deliberations, the director suggested (November 2008) to the government for establishment of three geo-technical seismological observatories, one each at Tanghdar, Uri and Poonch. In the first phase, construction of observatory at Tanghdar (Kupwara) was proposed to be taken up. Accordingly, the administrative approval for construction of seismological observatory at Tanghdar at a cost of Rs 71.14 lakh was accorded in October 2009 by the director. The project included construction of main observatory building and one independent room for installation of Broadbaand Seismograph (BBS) and was to be executed through the Executive Engineer Jammu and Kashmir police housing corporation Srinagar. It was to be completed within one working season. For this purpose an amount of Rs 71.14 lakh was advanced to the corporation by the department. Meanwhile, the director requested the government in November 2008 and November 2010 to accord approval for importing BBS through the department of Geology, University of Jammu, which was also recommended in February 2010 by the state level purchase committee of the department. However, the government did not agree to this proposal and instead directed in January 2011 the director to place orders for procurement of BBS with the approved firm itself at the latest approved rates. An amount of Rs 25 lakh released in March 2010 by the government for the procurement of the equipment were drawn and kept in civil deposit head of account by the director. However, the department could not finalise the process of procurement of BBS and the amount of Rs 20 lakh continued to remain blocked in the civil deposit (March 2012). Audit check of records further revealed that construction of the building was completed by the corporation at a cost of Rs 50 lakh except one independent room for BBS. As the style and design of the equipment which would determine the exact inner layout of the independent room was not made available by the department, the corporation could not take up execution of this room, as a result, balance amount of Rs 21.14 lakh remained unutilized with the corporation and observatory cannot be established. In his reply, the senior drilling engineer stated in January 2012 that the department intended to purchase the equipment at the approved rates of university of Jammu and as soon as approval was received from the government, the procurement action would be initiated. The reply should be viewed in the light of the fact that no action had been taken by director on the directions of the government in January 2011 to place orders for procurement of BBS with the approved firm at the latest approved rates, the report said. Thus, due to the failure of the departmental authorities to finalise process of procurement of Broadband seismograph for over three years, the seismological observatory at Tanghdar could not be established resulting in unproductive expenditure of Rs 50 lakh besides blockade of funds to the extend of Rs 46.14 lakh . The objective of monitoring seismic activity in the state on regular basis through establishment of the seismological observatory could also not be achieved, the report revealed.