Citizens' Issues
Guwahati, Srinagar at highest earthquake risk

Guwahati and Srinagar fall in what is called “very severe intensity zone”, or zone V, the highest-risk earthquake zone

 

Guwahati and Srinagar are the two Indian cities at highest risk of being devastated by an earthquake, with 36 other cities in areas prone to earthquakes, according to government data.
 
Guwahati and Srinagar fall in what is called “very severe intensity zone”, or zone V, the highest-risk earthquake zone.
 
Eight cities, including Delhi, fall in the “severe intensity zone” or zone IV, according to a seismic zoning map issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards and quoted in a National Disaster Management (NDM) report. The other 30 cities fall in the “moderate intensity zone”, or zone III.
 
“India has highly populous cities, including the national capital of New Delhi, located in zones of high seismic risk,” said the report. “Typically, the majority of the constructions in these cities are not earthquake resistant. Thus any earthquake striking in one of these cities would turn into a major disaster.”
 
A reminder of India’s vulnerability
 
The Nepal earthquake, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives, and the NDM data are a reminder of India’s vulnerability.
 
IndiaSpend recently reported that nearly 60 percent of the sub-continental landmass is vulnerable to earthquakes.
 
About 50 million years ago, India — then an island that had previously broken off from a supercontinent called Gondwana, a name still used for what is now Chhattisgarh — slammed into the Eurasian mainland, creating the Himalayas as it collided.
 
All land on earth rides on “plates”, which glide on the mantle, a rocky inner layer. The Indian plate continues to grind into the Eurasian plate, and as it does, the Himalayas and north India are on shaky ground.
 
India pushes northeast into Asia at roughly 5 cm every year, causing subterranean stresses that are released in the form of earthquakes every now and then.
 
Vulnerable zones are monitored, but prediction is impossible
 
An array of sensors in India and abroad monitor plate activity, but it is impossible to predict an earthquake, as many tweets and Whatsapp messages after the Nepal temblor appeared to indicate
 
What is available is data on areas of specific vulnerability.
 
Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh appear to be the most vulnerable states, with six cities each in earthquake-prone zones. Both the states have one city each under zone IV and five cities marked under zone III. Maharashtra is next with four cities in zone III.
 
The Bureau of Indian Standards (IS-1893 – part – 1: 2002), based on scientific inputs from a number of agencies, including earthquake data supplied by Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), has grouped India into four seismic zones, II, III, IV and V.
 
The Modified Mercalli (MM) intensity scale, which measures the impact of earthquakes on the surface of the earth, is broadly associated with India’s earthquake zones.
 
India has 42 digital seismograph stations to measure earthquake magnitude and monitor earthquake activity, operated by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. As many as 78 new digital seismographs are likely to be installed during 2015-16.

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60,000 Indians could benefit from Oman's amnesty

The Oman government announced the scheme on Monday and said it will run from May 3 to July 30

 

Around 60,000 Indians may benefit from an amnesty scheme announced in Oman, under which people without valid documents could either return to their country without being penalised or can rectify their papers, said a diaspora expert.
 
The Oman government announced the scheme on Monday and said it will run from May 3 to July 30.
 
S Irudayarajan, who heads the migration cell at the Centre for Development Studies, told IANS that Oman has an estimated 400,000 Indians, among them 1.89 lakh Keralites.
 
"Of the 400,000 Indians in Oman, around 15 percent would be without legal documents. This is the best time for all those who do not have proper documents to either rectify that or return home," said Irudayarajan.
 
He said according to informed sources, a similar scheme might be announced in Bahrain in two months' time.
 
"We have made numerous requests to the authorities that there should be a pre-departure training for Indians who decide to take up jobs in the Middle East countries," said Irudayarajan.
 
He said most of the people who do not have valid documents are labourers who pay around Rs.1 lakh to get a work visa to work.
 
"At times, some people are unlucky as they do not get the job and the salary they were promised, and then trouble starts for them. After the completion of their contract term which could be two or three years, they skulk from the employer and then they work illegally and end up without having any documents for a legal stay," said Irudayarajan.
 
The most recent study conducted by K.C. Zachariah and Irudayarajan reveals that the number of Kerala emigrants as in 2014 was 23.63 lakh. Nearly 90 percent of the Kerala diaspora is in various Middle East countries.
 
During the 12-month period ending March 1, 2014, the total remittances to Kerala stood at Rs.72,680 crore.
 
Remittances were 1.2 times the revenue receipt of the state and 4.9 times the money that the state got from the central government.
 
Kerala Minister for Diaspora KC Joseph told IANS that he learnt about the amnesty scheme and will get it touch with various Kerala based organisations to help those people who wish to return.
 
"If required, I will make a visit to Oman. All those who wish to return would be asked to return. The purpose of my visit would be to open a dialogue with the Omani authorities to see that they help people who wish to remain there by rectifying their documents," said Joseph.
 

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These apps help you settle down in a new city

Apps like TimesSaverz, PepperTap and Urbanclap help you seamlessly sift through challenges such as locating an ATM, finding groceries, home fittings, the nearest dry cleaner and the plumber et al

 

New to a city and still trying to find your moorings? Fret not, for there's a slew of smartphone apps that can help you settle down smoothly.
 
Apps like TimesSaverz, PepperTap and Urbanclap help you seamlessly sift through challenges such as locating an ATM, finding groceries, home fittings, the nearest dry cleaner and the plumber et al.
 
You can buy fresh fruits, vegetables and groceries while sitting at home with just a click on PepperTap and can be connected to the right trusted service professionals with the help of UrbanClap.
 
Quality home-based services - from cleaning to all sorts of repairs - can be availed of through Timessaverz.
 
PepperTap, launched in November 2014, is a hyper local grocery delivery service which provides an exhaustive list of grocery products whenever and wherever you want.
 
Currently, the services are available throughout Gurgaon with highly competitive prices along with no-questions-asked return policy but is set to quickly expand.
 
"The daily struggles of grocery shopping used to kill my family time, especially during the weekend. I had always wished for a solution wherein a chore like grocery shopping could be done for me," PepperTap co-founder Navneet Singh told IANS.
 
Consumers can place their orders through the mobile app for delivery within two hours, making it one of the fastest services of its kind.
 
The app is available for both Android and Apple's iOS platforms.
 
The venture has received Series A funding of $10 million ( Rs.60 crore) from SAIF Partners and Sequoia Capital.
 
"The funding will be leveraged for expanding the reach of PepperTap to 10 more cities by the end of the year," said Navneet Singh, who wants to take PepperTap from a single-city operation to a pan-India one.
 
Then, TimesSaverz, one of India's first on-demand home-based service, delivers various services to one's doorstep - from cleaning, repairs, handyman jobs to running errands and doing paperwork.
 
Debadutta Upadhyaya, CEO & co-founder of TimeSaverz, which was founded in April 2013, said: "It is a combination of personal experience around the struggle for getting the right help for the right price at the right time in the metros, more so if you are a nuclear working couple family, without any support system."
 
TimeSaverz provides its services in Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru. It says that each of its agents is taken on only after thorough background checks.
 
It provides services at market rates or even lower.
 
IT professional Asha Jain, 32, who recently shifted to Bengaluru shared her experience with IANS: "I moved to the city with little knowledge of the area and having no friends around made my situation worse. Then I used TimesSaverz and ordered cleaning services and they did a fabulous job."
 
UrbanClap, another start-up based in Delhi, helps users get the best professional services in areas like interior decoration, photography, event management and the like.
 
Whether you are looking to decorate your home, get candid pictures of your wedding, planning your child's birthday or just get healthier, UrbanClap is the destination for all your service needs. It connects online users with offline businesses.
 
"Painful memories from the past, finding a guitar teacher, a home designer, tailor, wedding decorator, a house broker motivated us to launch UrbanClap," Varun Khaitan, who co-founded UrbanClap in October 2014, told IANS.
 
It's the simplest way to find and hire trusted professionals, claim the founders.
 
The venture has raised Rs.10 crore in funding from SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal.
 
"The platform is already making thousands of successful connections every week and with the backing of our investors, we plan to scale up the platform across hundreds of services and multiple cities," UrbanClap's Raghav Chandra told IANS.
 
"Our smartphone-based matchmaking solution is very smooth and helps you find the right professionals with no effort at all. It is as easy as a clap," he added.
 
So, the next time you shift to a new city, just remember all the services are at your doorstep if you subscribe to these apps!
 

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