Roorkee is divided in to two areas urban and semi urban. Pure rural area is not available in Roorkee because villages are also developing and converted into industrial area. Very less number of villagers is living in hut and without house. Some villagers are living in row house (kacche maken) and these villagers takes subsidy from government.

The traditional stone

Wood based construction has been abandoned in the region and cement is being utilized for most new constructions. At present the region is witnessing infrastructure growth at a never before pace and switching over of the construction material without appropriate technological interventions (engineering standards associated with cement based construction) is bound to jeopardize seismic safety of the populations. Drawing confidence from cement based construction multistoried houses are haphazardly being constructed in the seismically vulnerable zone without appropriate technical inputs. Lack of suitable building bye laws and land use regulations further complicate the scenario. This has added to the seismic vulnerability of the population residing in this region.

Indigenous measures for earthquake safety

Incorporation of unique terms for identifying individual floors in the local dialect is suggestive of their frequent use. This implies common occurrence of four storied houses in the region. Magnificent four to five storied structures can still be observed in Yamuna and Bhagirathi valleys. These have survived many earthquakes and lack of the elements of earthquake safety would have razed these to ground. Highlights of the technology utilized for erecting multistoried houses is observed to be commonly used in other structures of the region as well.

This includes:

  • The use of thick wooden logs running through the entire length of each of the walls alternately with heavy stones.
  • At the corners the edges of the pair of logs on the adjacent walls are joined together by hammering thick wooden nails through them. This has the effect of turning the structure into a single piece construction like the beam of the modern construction.
  • All the windows, doorways, ventilators and floor- joists are joined to these well-secured pairs of logs and these further strengthened the structure.

There was a tradition of carefully selecting the construction site and detailing the various foundation related aspects. The foundation was dug till the hard rock or a large boulder (dal in Kumaoni) was reached. The foundation was then left open for long durations, before the commencement of construction. According to the tradition the foundation should have witnessed seven monsoons before the construction. This helped in minimizing ground subsidence after the construction.

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