Monday, August 28, 2006

Watery tragedy of a desert

In a tragic accident 48 people had died in a remote village named Kama in Rajasthan, India yesterday. The place is in Bharatpur district, about 225 km from Jaipur. People had gathered to watch a wrestling competition as part of the Bhojan Thali Mela, a village fair. Spectators trying to find a vantage point, climbed up an old water tank near the venue. It was suspected that about 200 people climbed up the tank when it gave in killing many on top and few on the ground. Several people have been injured as well. After the incident locals were found complaining about administration's negligence. They said there were no policemen to stop people from climbing the tank. While the administration is being blamed for the tragedy no one has pointed finger at the organizers? Do we need policemen everywhere to tell us what not to do? Are we not grown up enough what is wrong or dangerous? If so, policemen should be posted at everyone’s house so that whenever he tries to rectify an electrical fault, the policemen posted will stop him.

Try visualizing Rajasthan and the image of desert and sand dunes comes to mind. It is a different matter that Rajasthan is reeling under unprecedented floods these days. While the normally wet areas in the North East of India are undergoing a draught like situation, Western part of India has received unexpected deluge this season. Obviously very few were prepared for these vagaries of nature. But the administration and government is incurring the wrath of people. We all know there is lot of deficiency in government in managing this country. The country is lacking behind for the mismanagement and misgovernance. But is it good to blame administration for everything? I have never heard of a flood in Barmer or Jaisalmer in 20 years. Should we expect the government to be ready with contingency plans for such unthought of events. The tendency is such that even if a meteor hits some town in India, the blame will be put on administration for not being prepared. It is high time we should channelise our collective frustration at the shortcomings of the government in helping each other out. Victims should be more concerned now that the compensation amount reaches them rather than the pockets of politicians and their middlemen. Our politicians are monsters created by us. So we will have to find a collective way to humble them.

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