It was a disaster that was all set to happen. No preventive actions were taken, no warnings issued and the worst part is there was no evacuation plan in place. It is paining to know that there was no official response for three days expect for the Chief Minister saying that it was a Himalayan Tsunami. The state had no disaster relief plans and eventually Army had to be called to do the evacuation.
There are various factors that have led to this disaster. The first important factor is the unregistered and improper buildings that were build all around the mountains and rivers. They had cut the trees, allowed soil erosion to happen and blocked the path of water, all for their incoming from tourists. The government never had reasons to demolish the encroachments.
The so called Char Dham Yatra has had 3 Crore visitors in the previous year. Tourism has been one of the major contributions to the state. Despite that the infrastructure had been poor and the Government never had intentions of developing the all-weather-roads, supply of unintruppted electricity and other facilities. I would not alone blame the govt. on this note.
We have a general public opinion – “The more painful our path to God is, the more effective it is.” It is a group of ‘Lakir ke Faqir’ people who believe that travelling to these hard bound places, in hardest way, has a huge divine benefit on them and any sort of developmental measures taken in these places is opposed by a group of people. For those who were against All Weather Roads, Suspension Bridges, Quack Proof Buildings;Divine-Retribution-System has now made them understand that they must had to be against those responsible of falling trees and letting their animals graze over mountains which cause erosion and land slides, flash floods …and, destruction.
One more disturbing fact is that that the state govt. has been so passive to use the funds New Delhi alloted for the state every year to spend in disaster management in earlier years.
Uttrakand didn’t spend that fund, which proves how serious they were, in terms of establish modern setup to save maximum lives in such a horripulating disaster. The people were just left stranded.
When the Metrological Department predicted earlier, that the heavy rains because of above average monsons this year, didn’t the Government think that the pilgrims were in danger. They could have simply stopped from travelling into the mountains. Nothing was done officially until the floods washed away the connections. A simple announcement could have saved thousands of people.
Overall it was a Natural Disaster aided by manmade mistakes and neglect of Government. It is already a week and more than 50000 are still left stranded. Before the next set of rains lash the area, the evacuation needs to be carried out.
With years of action to be taken, the Government is all set to lose the tourism revenues and incur a lot of expenditure.
A good lesson for its greed, but sad that lot of people lost lives.
One by one, with every solved problem …Everytime, we pull you out of trouble, we will move ahead, one step ahead !!
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-Varanasi (City of Myths)