The quake resulted in a loss of more than 7,000 lives, with over 14,000 injured.
“We could have predicted the earthquake in Nepal and parts of Bihar with perfect accuracy if we were provided advanced equipment instead of old and outdated analysers,” says Dr M N Sinha, head of the Department of Geology at Patna University.
Sinha told IANS “it was unfortunate that a fault in the data and image transmitted from Ionospheric Product Services(IPS) linked to an Australian satellite blocked our researchers from forecasting temblor in Nepal.”
He said that the images transmitted from IPS on April 22 indicated ionic disturbance in Myanmar, not Nepal.”Had we been using advanced equipment we could have issued an alert to Nepal, not Myanmar,” Sinha said.
He recalled how his team had issued a wrong alert and could not foresee the tragedy that would hit Bihar too. In all, 58 people had died in Bihar from the impact of the temblor.
“We are dependent on secondary sources to study the data and images. That’s where the real problem lies,” he said.
Sinha blamed ‘red tapism’ for not setting up an Advance Centre for Seismic Research in his department, despite the fact that a proposal was mooted and sanctioned by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in November 2013.
“Delay in clearing files by top officials prevented us from taking a lead in warning the world before the tragedy struck,” Sinha said.
An advanced centre for seismic research, he said, is equipped with modern seismographs,linkage facilities with satellites and geomagnetic data analysers to examine the crust of earth.
He said that in 2013, a prediction of an imminent quake in Pakistan and Iran by his department researcher Umesh Prasad Verma had come true. Following this, the then chief minister approved a proposal for such a centre in Patna.
Sinha said the main technique developed for quake prediction by researchers of his department was based on total electron count (TEC) in the ionosphere, 18 km to 80 km above the earth’s surface.
“It is a simple and easy process to analyse data and images. In fact, ionospheric disturbances analysed with the help of satellite data precisely indicates the place and time of earthquake, albeit with some variation,” Sinha said.