Do not reinvent the wheel

Murari Sharma

In the wake of the massive earthquakes in Nepal in April and May 2015, Nepali organizations have been rushing to earthquake related research.

Research is essential to find new and effective solutions to old problems. However, research for the sake of research is a patent waste of resources.

Let me cite an example. When I was working with the Ministry of Finance, I came across a strange and inherently corrupt phenomenon. The engineers of a department were studying the same projects year after year and getting paid for it year after year. Worse, the information contained in their reports was the same year after year — it was just tweaked here and there to make it look like original.

Earthquakes are nothing new and Nepal is not the only country suffering from these disasters. Many other countries have been their frequently victims. Because of it, these countries have invested billions of dollars in geological research in general and earthquake research in particular and come up with measures to be taken to mitigate the impacts of earthquakes.

Japan and the United States, particularly the state of California, are two countries that get earthquakes frequently. They have invested fortunes to develop and implement measures — earthquake resilient houses and infrastructures, soil tests, earthquake education, emergency procedures, etc — to mitigate the impacts of earthquakes on people and property.

Therefore, Nepal does not have to spend a penny on reinventing the wheel. The wheel is there already. All we may have to do is tweak the wheel just a bit to suit our soil condition, rock formation and climate.


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