It is clear that with 2014 drawing closer, prime ministerial aspirants are now fishing in troubled waters and trying to cash in on Uttarakhand’s tragedy. How else can one explain their “concern” for only the people of their own States who are still stranded? For a leader like Narendra Modi, who aspires to be at the helm of national politics, such a narrow outlook will do him no good, even politically. As some political leaders claim, he is good for Gujarat alone. One remembers a similar move by him just after 26/11, in Mumbai. It is important to save people irrespective of whichever State they hail from. Let’s stop trying to make political capital out of the tragedy.
The media is out to smear politicians, the latest being Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who is supposed to have claimed that “through his PR machinery he rescued 15,000 Gujarati pilgrims, Rambo style,” and is now being pilloried for this. Nowhere in the press and the electronic media have I heard either Mr. Modi or his “PR machinery” making such a claim. The media’s disinformation campaign is reprehensible.
Soldiers, not politicians, are the heroes may be a paraphrase of what Union Minister P. Chidambaram said on the rescue in Uttarakhand, a rare and sincere gesture from a politician. Our defence forces have once again shown their mettle. The pictures speak for themselves. Come rain or sun and in desert or on mountain, plain and jungle, our brave men are there for us.
“Not war, but a plethora of man-made things is threatening to strangle us, suffocate us, bury us, in the debris, and byproducts of our technologically inventive and irresponsible age,” prophesied the great anthropologist and humanist, Margaret Mead, more than 50 years ago. The devastation in Uttarakhand has happened because we have (deliberately) ignored the possible long-term consequences for short-term gains.
Dasu Madhusudhana Rao,
The report “Tihar inmates donate Rs.10 lakh” (June 25) was inspiring. One wonders why such moves are not being emulated by our celebrated industrialists and sportspersons of whom several are compared to god. One would have also expected the victorious Indian cricket team to have pledged a significant amount of its earnings towards relief in Uttarakhand. And what about the IPL team owners?
All ecological and sustainable parameters have been breached incessantly over time. In spite of knowing that the State faces natural dangers, Uttarakhand should not have encouraged the unbridled growth of tourism. The State and the Union governments should devote more energy and time for the development of front line Himalayan States.
Arjun R. Shankar,
The unprecedented floods have wrecked tiny Uttarakhand, showing up its inadequacies in dealing with a tragedy. The State is now totally dependent on the Centre for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Had it been a part of Uttar Pradesh it could have managed well. This is what we have seen in Maharashtra and Gujarat when these States were devastated by massive earthquakes. The Centre should bear this in mind when dealing with the ever-growing demand for smaller States based on the selfishness of local politicians.
Throughout the year, the country is witness to calamity — road and rail accidents, mela deaths, flood and landslips and blasts. It is painful that we do not have well-oiled machinery to deal with its aftermath. In Uttarakhand, for example, pilgrims who are totally unfamiliar with what to expect are there at the mercy of tour operators. Booking a ticket with an operator and undertaking the long and unfamiliar journey by being totally reliant on him is dangerous. The government must step in and have a centralised system.
It seems to be a rescue mission driven by technology. Going by survivor accounts, it is sad that they talk about finding bodies strewn everywhere. In its reconstruction, Uttarakhand would do well to think of having a mountain dog squad, using rugged breeds like the St. Bernard, along with an electronic tagging system for all pilgrims. India must seek the help of foreign countries.