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Bamboo-based houses suitable for Earthquake prone areas

The Environment Ministry has recommended bamboo-based houses, which have been developed and successfully tested by a government institute, for earthquake-prone areas of the country. In its annual report, the Ministry said the Bangalore-based Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute (IPIRTI), an autonomous body of the MoEF, has developed and tested a bamboo-based house suitable for disaster-prone areas. FAO's global Teak Resources and Market Assessment report estimated that in 2010, the combined area of natural teak forest was about 29 million hectares, and almost half of which is in Myanmar. It said the natural teak forests declined by 385,000 hectares globally between 1992 and 2010. The study, released last month, was conducted in 60 tropical countries. Myanmar is the only country that currently produces quality teak from natural forests. India, Laos and Thailand have banned logging in natural forests or log exports.

New technology

Observing that some regions in India require quake-proof housing, the Ministry said the bamboo-based house built by the institute based on IPIRTI-TRADA (Timber Research and Development Association) technology can resist seven repetitions of a typical Zone 5 earthquake — the highest in the country. “The bamboo house resisted seven repetitions of a typical Zone 5 earthquake, the highest in India and equivalent to over 7 on the Richter Scale, showing no signs of falling apart, in contrast to a concrete structure. There were only a few cracks showing at the end of the most intensive of shocks,” the Ministry said in its annual report.

Shock table

It said that Jagadish Vengala, scientist and Head of the Products Application Division, IPIRTI, has tested the house by mounting it on a ‘shock table' and delivering a series of base shocks through a simple pendulum device, the impact of which was comparable to earthquakes. The house has split bamboo grid and wire mesh, plastered with cement mortar for walls with bamboo columns providing support. The ceiling is made of light bamboo mat corrugated sheets developed by IPIRTI. Citing the seismologists' account of recent devastating earthquake in Japan that claimed many lives, the Ministry said few died in the Island nation due to building collapses as they have perfected the technology for quake-proof constructions.

Source: The Hindu business line