In the early morning 25 years ago, the residents of Jabalpur city and neighbourhood were jolted out of their bed by a moderate earthquake of about M6 and maximum intensity of VIII. Though a lot of media attention was focused on the near-complete devastation of Koshamghat village, widespread damage was reported throughout the city. The most disturbing fact was the unsatisfactory response of publicly-funded buildings and structures, such as those located on the campuses of Jawahar Lal Nehru Agriculture University, the Ordnance Factory, and others. Prior to the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake, this event highlighted for the first time the seismic vulnerability of modern urban centers as scant attention was given to structural safety against earthquakes. Many private and public buildings with several years of useful life left were damaged beyond repair and had to be demolished.

Most significantly, this event put a spotlight on deficiencies of IS 1893 seismic code provisions for elevated water tanks, which was further intensified after many such failures in the 2001 Bhuj earthquake. A large 5 lac gallon elevated RC water tank with cracked skirt staging was taken out of service, causing hardships to residents during the summer months and until the staging was retrofitted about a year later.

Field survey reports provide the best test results of the seismic performance of structures in real-life and serve as a valuable indicator of the adequacy of seismic design and construction practices in the affected region. The Department of Earthquake Engineering (DEQ) at IIT Roorkee has regularly prepared such reports for the past Indian earthquakes. NICEE is bringing out the online version of the reconnaissance report of the Jabalpur earthquake as a part of a collaborative initiative with DEQ in an effort to promote seismic safety. The readable link for the eBook version of this report is given below.

We have also prepared a slide show of photographs showing damages to various buildings and structures. Some informational resources at NICEE about earthquakes and earthquake-resistant construction are also listed.

We hope this remembrance will instill a sense of urgency to alleviate the high consequences of unmitigated seismic risk. Hopefully, it will motivate structural design professionals and the construction industry to take further measures to reduce the seismic vulnerabilities of ever-growing civil infrastructure. 


Pls visit the following pages at NICEE’s website for more information:





Durgesh C Rai
National Information Center of Earthquake Engineering (NICEE)
IIT Kanpur