Tag Archives: North India

‘For The People, Of The People, Lets Buy The People’ – Part II

indian school image

 

By Ankush Kumar

My editor played spoilsport last time around. Now I know why writers and editors do not share great chemistry. Because both varieties work on different experiments and both hate each other.

Anyways last time I worked hard to generate humor on the article ‘for the people, of the people, lets buy the people’ but my editor it seemed was in a quandary over its content. On one hand he supports Arvind Kejriwal and hopes for a change on the other hand he gags his writers by deleting content and changing the wholesome entertainment value of the post.

The problem is that he knows I will write only for him hence has a habit of taking liberties anyways I am taking forward the last post by highlighting achievements of the Congress party in the education sector.

A) The last time I visited a middle school in North India, the teacher and staff sat idle in their offices waiting for their salary, long overdue for an year, the students waited for their masters to teach. Since none bothered to care, only the mid-day appeared and disappeared day in and day out but the meals were missing. The only day I saw 110 percent capacity in the premises was when the children were given money to buy uniforms. Even those who had never bothered to see the school building (by the way that existed only on paper) had come for their share. That evening I was offered a feast, but seeing the apathy it was a tough pill to swallow.

(B) A certain pharmaceutical company paid almost a crore to the government and ensured that each state was sent a letter highlighting how disturbing malnutrition has become in our country. Celebrities have now been roped in to highlight the issue. This company wants to eradicate the problem by selling their food supplements. If anything they will manage to do it will be create customers not cures. Putting a child on a chemically manufactured diet is a potential scam in the making. If the government can ensure supplies of nutritious meals at the micro levels, all this nonsense will never be needed. But since our ministers have their children’s abroad education expenses to cover, the poor are becoming the scapegoats.

C) On one hand we have private urban schools turning to smart classes as the new way of learning, our schools at the village level still don’t have enough chalk and blackboards to last a year. Some children still manage to shine through, but the percentage is terribly low. When we have governments in states that try doing innovative things to promote education, we have our leaders at the center doing buffoonery as opposition. Nitish Kumar gave cycles to girls; Lalu had the brains to offer bikes. How we wish our leaders had some sanity left in them.

D) The Congress has been brilliant in shrinking our education systems to an all time
low. The guilt of Rahul baba failing in his education (he really dint need that) has propelled our central leaders to ensure that the masses are a few notches lower than their charming prince. Otherwise fooling the nation time and again will become a tough exercise.

P.S: You chop and change this one Mr. Scissors, I’ll stone you.

 

 

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Uttarakhand Floods: Nature’s Fury or Have We Dug Our Own Graves? – Part IV

Chandan Das wonders about the reason due to which we were not able to take requisite action despite Nature giving us timely warnings, in the fourth part of the Uttarakhand Floods series.

“For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.” – William Wordsworth

cloud-burst

UTTARAKHAND is PRONE to Natural Disasters: So what?

Ok I agree to the fact that the very nature of topographical, geological, geomorphological and seismic situation in Uttarakhand makes it prone to large kinds of disasters. It is part of young Himalayan mountain, prone to landslides, erosion and flash floods.  And this is not something new. Similar disasters have been found in other countries like China, Italy & USA and even in UTTARAKHAND, the Asiganga hydropower project had played a key role in the Uttarkashi disaster a couple of years ago. I mean you cannot avert a cloudburst, but you can certainly reduce the damage!

Not that Mother Nature did not give any timely warnings. Through the years, since the 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake that left nearly 2,000 dead and thousands without shelter in the Himalayan state, there have been several warnings, such as abnormal rise in temperature, reoccurring landslides, cloud bursts and flash floods in vast regions of Tehri, Pauri, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Almora. The headlines three years ago were similar: ‘flash floods leave North India in deep trouble’ and ‘flood, rain, wreak havoc in North India’. The monsoon of 2010 brought with it such massive losses of lives, property, crops and infrastructure that the state said its development clock had been set back by a decade!! In August 2012, buildings were washed away by Uttarkashi flash floods. Immediately after that, the Uttarakhand government report actually asked for a legislation and its strict implementation to ensure that no construction, including roads are allowed next to the river. As per official records, 233 villages were marked  disaster-prone and could face Uttarkashi-like situation any moment. Sadly, two months later, a cloudburst in Rudraprayag had claimed 69 lives (the very same place where the Disaster started).

uttarkashi_cloudburst_295It may be some consolation that nature’s fury is not well handled even by some of the most advanced industrial societies, as demonstrated by Hurricane Sandy in New York last year and Katrina earlier. But we should at least try and be prepared by rechecking urban water draining infrastructure lest we suffer due to the monsoon that is in fact our saviour. But nobody, barring a handful of environmentalists, ecologists and local people, paid heed to the warnings. A place that is prone to disasters because of fast-occurring climate change should be guarded with utmost sensitivity towards ecology and environment, but the administration closed its eyes to all illegal constructions!!

So was it just a nature’s fury or have we dug our own graves ?