An earthquake of 5.8 magnitude struck Uttarakhand on Monday night. Strong tremors were felt in national capital Delhi and neighbouring Gurgaon, Punjab and other parts of north India. Tremors were reported as far away as Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. No damage has been reported so far.
The earthquake struck at 10.33 pm and had its epicentre near Ukimath in Rudraprayag district of the hill state, where assembly elections are scheduled to be held next week. Scientists said the earthquake was shallow, with a depth of just seven kilometres.
The depth of the quake was 33km and it occurred at 10.33 PM,” said JL Gautam, operations head at the NSB, a unit of ministry of earth sciences.
According to the US Geological Survey, the magnitude was 5.6.
Uttarakhand, which falls in the Himalayan belt, is known for high seismic activities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter said he had spoken to officials and taken stock of the situation.
A home ministry spokesperson said home minister Rajnath Singh had asked for a detailed report and the NDRF has been put on high alert.
Union home ministry said NDRF teams have been rushed from Ghaziabad to Uttarakhand to conduct rescue and relief operations, if such a situation arises.
Two teams of National Disaster Response Force were rushed to Rudraprayag, NDRF director general RK Pachnanada told PTI.
He said that one more team has been put on standby and will be dispatched depending on the developing situation.
PM Narendra Modi also tweeted: “Spoke to officials & took stock of the situation in the wake of the earthquake felt in various parts of North India. PMO is in touch with officials in Uttarakhand, which is the epicentre of the quake. I pray for everyone’s safety & wellbeing.”
Ashok Kumar, a senior official in Dehradun police, said, “The quake was quite heavy. It lasted for 25 or 30 seconds, but there are no reports of damage so far received.”
Amit Negi, secretary of disaster management in the state, said they have alerted all districts and were coordinating with them, but that there were no reports of damage so far.
In Delhi, panicky people rushed out of their homes as the quake hit the city of 16 million people.
Tremors were also felt across Punjab, Haryana and their common capital Chandigarh too. Tremors were felt as far as Kolkata, reports said.
In Chandigarh, many people came running out of their homes screaming. “I was sleeping, when my bed started shaking. I ran towards my mother’s room,” said Kirti, a resident of Sector 20.
“I was driving, so I didn’t feel the tremor. But I noticed girls were screaming and they were running out of their homes,” said Reena from Sector 27.
Another resident of the same sector, Deepinder Kohli, said: “I was watching TV when my chair started shaking. I looked at the fan and it was moving. I didn’t realise, until my children came running towards me shouting.”
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