Earthquake in Assam, NE, Bengal

An earthquake of moderate intensity measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale today jolted Assam, some other north eastern states and West Bengal but there was no report of any loss of life or major damage to properties.

The quake, which struck at 6.11pm, had its epicentre in Naogaon in central Assam, R S Dattareya of the Met Department in New Delhi said.

The quake caused panic as people rushed out of their homes.

Although there was no report of any major damage so far, some buildings developed cracks and one concrete wall collapsed at Jyotinagar area of Guwahati under the impact of the quake. The jolt was also felt in Meghalaya capital Shillong.

A Kolkata report said tremors were felt in northern parts of West Bengal, including Malda and Jalpaiguri, as also Kolkata.

In Meghalaya, the tremor created panic among locals. "Our apartment was literally swaying for close to about 15 seconds. We rushed out of our home in panic," said Kester Thabah.

"People panicked and ran out of their homes and offices with buildings shaking for close to 20 seconds," said John Sangma, who was on his way home from his office.

East Khasi Hills District Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal, said that there have been no reports of any damaged caused by the quake.

Moderate tremors were also felt in Kolkata, its surrounding districts and northern West Bengal.

The seven northeastern states - Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur - are considered by seismologists as the sixth major earthquake-prone belt in the world.

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