In India, even tragedies fail to make politicians act

By Kamna Arora | Last Updated: Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 16:34
 
Kamna Arora  

The recent incident of the death of 23 children due to contaminated free meal that they ate at their school in Bihar jolted all of us. If that wasn’t enough, the political blamegame that followed made me hang my head in shame.

I wonder why it must take a life to make our authorities wake up from their deep slumber. And when they do, their inefficiency and lack of willpower are evidently deplorable.

It seems Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has no time to visit the victims of mid-day meal tragedy. Other ministers of his government are more into floating conspiracy theories, rather than accepting a lapse in implementing the world`s largest school feeding programme. Even in the past, dead lizards, frogs, insects and a rat have been found in the food cooked for the mid-day meal, angering students and parents, but not authorities. Had the authorities taken action against the defaulters then, the 23 innocent lives lost recently could have been saved. Moreover, a number of cases of children falling sick due to mid-day meal from other states such as Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra even after the incident in Bihar clearly shows the seriousness of the authorities in preventing another tragedy.

Rules are there, but who will check their implementation, and without implementation, what is the purpose of making rules.

This is not about a single incident. Right from national parties to regional ones, these all seem to be deaf. And from small to big schemes, nothing works in India with a smooth flair. For example, potholes repair is a routine practice for the Mumbai administration. Even a number of accidents every year due to potholes in the financial capital of our country have hardly changed anything. Recently, a motorist died due to a pothole on Western Express Highway. But what action has the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) taken? No prizes for answers. Over 1,050 potholes across the city are still awaiting attention of the civic body.

What is done to curb illegal mining business in India? In states like Jharkhand and Bihar, the coal mafia rules over an empire worth an estimated USD 400 million, as per estimates of the Central Bureau of Investigation. A number of activists have been hacked to death by these mafia due to negligence and inefficiency of the governments. And the illegal business is still booming.

Take a look at the recent tragedy in Uttarakhand. Not long ago, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, had submitted a report to the Uttarakhand government geologists, warning that roads had been built without discussing other geologists and environmentalists.

“The Border Roads Organisation (a central government agency) has constructed roads in wilful ignorance of geological and environmental conditions,” the report mentioned.

In April, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had issued a report stating that Uttarakhand has no disaster management plan to speak of. It also pointed out that that the State Disaster Management Authority, which was constituted in October 2007, has never met till date. Hundreds of deaths in June due to flash floods and landslides in the hilly state is the result of this ignorance on the part of authorities.

What about rape incidents? After the horrific December 16 gang-rape in Delhi, a number of such cases have been reported. The hullabaloo in political circles in this regard is seen only when the people of this country come on the roads. And then too, nothing significant happens. The amendments in anti-rape laws won`t help, dear government! How are you going to implement them is the issue you need to wrack your grey cells for.

Discussing the harm or profit of `English` language is not what the country demands. For God`s sake, please act!



First Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 16:34
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