Friday, June 28, 2013

Disaster in Devbhumi!

Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, and disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things...Daryn Kagan

The American broadcast journalist has put in very perfect words the byproduct of natural calamities or disasters, as we can’t avoid them but it’s how we face them decides what we are! Unfortunately what is happening at the scene of northern India’s biggest natural calamity till now seems exactly opposite of the quote. By now we all have had enough of Uttarakhnad & Himanchal Pradesh's new updates as all media, news papers, TV channels are full of them. Every political party may it be ruling or opposition all are busy in suggesting rather blaming is proper word for this circus which we are witnessing after the calamity. At the same time all political who's who are keen to show how they are worried about the affected people & trying their best to help the same.
Effective media managers have been employed to leak the news of some leaders saving the trapped pilgrimages  that too from their States only & painting the image of the so called leader as Rambo! We read the news of some leaders from Andhra fighting over from whose plane the rescued people will travel & the "Karyakartas" literally torn the boarding passes of the poor passengers! The honorable Union Home Minister announced that so called VIP leaders should keep away from these areas as the rescue operation gets hampered & within twenty four hours when his own party big shots decided to visit he has to swallow his words back! And let me remind we are talking about national level figures here! I really wonder what kind of country we are living where every act is being made keeping an eye on vote bank, may it be rescue of trapped tourists or making a policy for avoiding disaster!

Also by now most of the social celebrities have given their comments about this disaster & we have witnessed some real heroic efforts also in saving the people in that area. Let me confess I am no disaster expert neither I am going to suggest anything about it nor I am a political critics, whatever I wrote in above para is a scene open to all citizens of this country & was just trying to share my feelings about the same. As right now media is full of so called experts who now claim that they have foreseen this disaster but how Govt has ignored it like stories. Also all sort of allegations right from deforestation to building wrong roads to as usual builders/hoteliers from Delhi building wrong way the structures are making headlines & how environment has been damaged over the years & finally innocent people paid for it type things also we read.

Common man in country often get carried by the media as that’s the only way for him to know about the situation at zero ground of any disaster & media guys knows this & they take full advantage of it & run the Flash News stories! And we enough "Netas" to feed them more fuel is also a fact. Here I like to mention disaster in Japan caused by Tsunami, those who have seen the footage will realize the difference between detailing & making affected people aware about the situation through the media. Never they glorified any individual neither false pictures of damage or figures were shown ever. This show how not only how ill prepared we are but how immature we as a society are to handle such disaster!

There will be as usual analysis for the vast damage & causes for the same; some committees will be set to do the job which indirectly is covering the failure of all concerned people. May it be issues like there wasn’t any Disaster Managing Committee was in existence which is mandatory nor any environmental clearance was taken for many infrastructural projects which eventually added up for the damage & deaths of so many & things like that. The debate will be on, few officers will be sacked which also eventually again will get established once the dust settles down. All things so familiar to we the Indian people, yet we feel each time something different will happen! I wanted to hit exactly this point, look at USA, just once the country got hit by terrorist attack & for ten years there wasn’t a single such incidence till last month’s Boston marathon blast!  Tsunami or Hurricanes is something no man can control yet Japan, USA & other countries installed warning systems for the same which has saved millions of life as well properties & this to we have witnessed in recent past.

Its not about causing ay natural disaster it’s how we face it is one thing & what we have learned from such disaster is second thing. And here is where we have repeatedly failed in our country. Disaster, may it be man-made like terrorist act or natural, if we are not going to be able to stop it but we can surely reduce its impact by a disciplined fall back arrangement. When States like Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh receives tourists in form of pilgrimage or sightseeing, numbers of which is thrice than the native population, then what kind of precautions have been taken for any such disaster, is a natural question which never has been asked by any of the concerned person. Kind of public health or medical facilities at each such place is the main issue in any calamity & which wasn’t in place at all. Also the alternate means of communications in such times was not ever thought & that has made the rescue operation more difficult. Agreed the entire terrain is hilly & road building is a tortures job but then many of the places become inaccessible because they had just one road to reach them & once that got washed away the entire locality was cut off from outer world. And again the civil supplies like food & medicines wasn’t stored in ample, many deaths have been caused by lack of these essential things.

Here I will say even the visitors or tourists were also a bit negligent as they too didn’t thought of keeping extra food or medicine or even cell chargers like things to avoid excess baggage which eventually cost many of them their life. We never think of taking training on our own of  proper evacuation in case of emergency. We read that when first flood hit the towns, after receiving the warnings of evacuation many tourists simply ran away from their shelters with just clothes on; not even thinking once that how they will survive in open without anything! Neither Govt takes any effort to train people for such things not we on our own are careful for the same. Here again if we remember the disciplined way Japanese people were evacuating their buildings in case of earthquake they will understand what I am referring to!

This disaster will impact the tourism of both these States very deeply, crippling the entire economy of the local which depends on the tourists. And that effect is more dangerous to face. I think such disasters have two outcomes on damage front, one is physical i.e. loss of life as well property & another is psychological. The second one is very silent but long lasting & it’s this damage in the minds of locals which needs to be dealt with utmost care. At such times we need a strong character to remain strong in extreme adverse conditions which unfortunately not only these states but entire country is lacking!

In all these chao most creditable thing was the discipline & dedication shown by our Army & Air force! A real hero never has to tell others that he is a hero & that’s what exactly our forces did. Till now except few press conferences by Air force Chief, not a single news about the tough job being carried by the "Jawans" has been published by the forces! Neither they mentioned the numbers of people they helped in rescuing nor the difficulties their own people faced during the entire operation, no words of how tough the task was, a real thankless job! I think not only our leaders but we all should learn from this attitude of our forces, as we all have a habit of blowing a small achievement to out of proportion where as the true achievers are always silent about their achievements. As Daryan Kagan has said lets salute the courage of these ordinary men who are fighting with the situation over there with extraordinary courage & strengthen them by our own acts, that’s the best way to face & learn from such disaster!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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