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.
Ukhimath is about 97 km from state capital Dehradun, where intense tremors were reported. They lasted for about seven to 10 seconds and people were seen rushing out of their homes.
“We felt strong tremors here. The inputs that we are getting from the hills also tell us that there were tremors there. No casualties are reported yet,” Ramesh Pokhriyal, BJP lawmaker from Hardwar and former Uttarakhand chief minister told NDTV.
“There has so far there has been no loss to life or property,” Sanjay Gunjyal, a top Uttarkhand police officer told news agency ANI a little before midnight. Chief Minister Harish Rawat has directed senior officials to immediately ascertain the impact of the earthquake and start relief operations where needed. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF have been rushed to Rudraprayag.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted that his office is in touch with officials in Uttarakhand. “I pray for everyone’s safety & well-being,” PM Modi tweeted, adding, “Spoke to officials & took stock of the situation in the wake of the earthquake felt in various parts of North India.”
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked for a detailed report on the quake and its impact.
Ukhimath is a small pilgrim town where prayers shift in the winter months when the famous Kedarnath temple, 49 km away, is closed.
Private forecaster Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd Director Mahesh Palawat told IANS news agency that aftershocks could be expected.
“Aftershocks may recur on Tuesday as well, but will be of very low intensity. These aftershocks will be strong in the areas close to the epicentre in Uttarakhand.