INTACH Field Report: 26th January 2001 Gujarat (India) Earthquake
Divay Gupta, Programme Director
Rescue of historical buildings in the quake-affected areas of Gujarat. The recent tragedy in Gujarat has taken it toll on the rich architectural heritage and culture of the region. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) felt that there is an urgent need to safeguard these landmarks of history and heritage and thus set up a Task force.
Our main concern at INTACH is to ensure that the cultural heritage is preserved & promoted and not lost sight of in rehabilitation and redevelopment programmes in the earthquake affected areas of Gujarat. With this in mind the task force set their objectives and took stock of the situation vis-à-vis cultural heritage and assessed the damage to historical cultural properties and have suggested emergency recommendations and solutions for protecting the heritage of the region.
The recent survey was done covering all the affected areas and has identified damages to the unprotected cultural heritage in the districts of Kutch, Jammnagar, Rajkot, Mehsana, Surendernagar and Junagarh. The survey was done by 3 teams from 10 Feb 2001 - 18 Feb 2001.
Kutch & Rajkot: Divay Gupta assisted by Mani Kanthan, Prof Subramanium and Tritho Raj;
Jamnagar & Junagarh: Himanshu Grover assisted by Cheetan and Sunil;
Mehsana & Surendernagar Jahnwij Sharma assisted by Ropak Chaterji and Vikram Singh.
The main summary of findings by the 3 teams of the task force are:
Kutch & Rajkot: 56 places (cities, towns and villages) and 250 buildings inspected. 40% of these were either collapsed or extensively damaged. 30% were damaged, 20% slightly damaged and 10% were intact.
Jamnagar and Junagarh: 32 places were visited and 128 buildings were inspected, there about 10% extensively damaged. 20% damaged, 50% with slight damages and 20% were intact.
Mehsana & Surendernagar: 24 places were visited and 110 buildings were inspected. There were 5% with extensive damages, about 10% were damaged, 25% were slightly damaged and the rest were intact.
The buildings and area that were surveyed are inventoried for their condition. Total number of buildings surveyed were 488. All these buildings require some help or the other depending upon their condition, architectural merit, usage and ownership.
The work is divided into 3 phases.
Phase I (already
Spot Assessment Level/Extent of structural damage.
Phase II (ongoing):
heritage buildings as per
architectural value, extent of
damage and usage for their
Conservation Strategy; at regional, area and building levels;
Arranging financial resources.
Monitoring after the assessment.
INTACH has already issued immediate Do's and Don'ts for authorities and owners for the rescue of heritage building. The salient feature of the immediate Do's and Don'ts addresses saving heritage buildings from immediate demolition; saving in-situ by strengthening; salvaging important architectural fragments from rubble and its management, dismantling [not demolishing] of heavily damaged and buildings in precarious condition.
INTACH has also prepared a manual for emergency repairs of earthquake affected historic buildings. We are now drawing up, strategies and conservation plans for our prioritized buildings. INTACH proposes an action plan so that cultural heritage remains an important aspect and is integrated into the rehabilitation and redevelopment in Gujarat. We feel that interventions are required at 3 levels:
Regional, Area and Building.
Regional Level: The unit to be taken into consideration is the district. This requires POLICY which is sensitive towards cultural and conservation issues. All rehabilitation, relocation and redevelopment PLANNING should address promotion & preservation of cultural heritage of the region.
This needs to be taken up with the state government, CM, concerned minister and secretary of Culture, Tourism & Urban Development. For this it is important that INTACH representative should also be part of regional redevelopment/rehabilitation committee formed by the state government so that decision making towards conservation issues can be addressed directly with the policy makers.
Area Level: The unit for this would be historic towns, cities, villages, historic and heritage cores, and zones in settlements. The interventions require formulation of CONSERVATION PLAN and integrated development plan for historic areas, where all socio-economic and cultural aspects are addressed. INTACH would also prepare guidelines for historic urban/rural conservation at the master plan level.
This needs to be coordinated with the district administration and other agencies, NGOS and sponsors. INTACH can be advisors on the committee at the local levels to address the conservation issues.
Building level: Requires TECHNICAL INPUTS for conservation. For this INTACH is already preparing conservation proposal, structural analysis, for priority buildings as per our survey. Guidelines, methods for conservation as per international standers and charters, etc. INTACH has already prepared a Manual for emergency repairs for laymen, this will also be translated into Gujarati and a more detailed manual for technical inputs in under preparation.
This would need co-ordination & networking with government and other agency. This can be done with the formation of committees at district and local levels with representatives from state government, NGOS, INTACH, Technical Institutes, Collaborators, Funding agencies and Sponsors.