Monday, September 1, 2008

Bihar: Of Floods and Govt Apathy

I was watching the news and was alarmed by the scant coverage Bihar Floods received on various news channel inspite of the fact that over 40 million people are affected. Probably not many news reporters want to go to Bihar to report live. They dont love it as they love to report literary discussions and their possible metaphorical, metaphysical and cosmic meanings of Saas Bahu serial dialogues. It suddenly struck me that why do I feel a bit nostalgic. Why do I think Bihar floods are a regular phenomenon. I decided to do a bit Google. (All Hail Larry Page and Sergey Brin please for a moment here) In Bihar, floods have been a regular tragedy over the years. I have posted below the links of some news articles reporting the grim situation of Bihar floods. 1998 - http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19980719/20050514.html 1999 - http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19990730/ige30003.html 2001 - http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/2001/09/12/stories/14122041.htm 2004- http://www.hindu.com/2004/07/25/stories/2004072509480500.htm 2005-http://www.hindu.com/2005/08/29/stories/2005082901301400.htm 2007 - http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=&id=373a3c1b-d007-4667-aef1-27eb44c7fad4&&Headline=Bihar+flood+situation+gets+grim&strParent=strParentID 2008 - We all know it by now... I looked at these links and I dont exactly know what I felt. Anger. Helplessness. Hopelessness. Rebellious. Pity at Incompetent Authorities. May be a mix of those. Do our knowledgeable officials in the Government, in Planning Commission and in Home Ministry have heard of a word called DAM? If not, its a concrete structure which helps in flood controls and irrigation and is used widely around the world. Pandit Nehru knew this concept and called Bhakra Nagal as "teerth sthaan" of Modern India. Ignorant souls please refer to some basic text books or Wikipedia. What does our Government thinks of us? Fishes who love swimming in Flood water? If there is a state that suffers from disastrous floods every year, what have been done about that? I am seriously thinking of filing an RTI application to know about what steps have been taken after witnessing almost a regular phenomenon of floods in Bihar. Though I am not too hopeful about the result of that. RTI Application might result in me getting a Blank Page implying "Oops we didnt do anything. Sorry for loss of millions of people every year" Do our Government, both State and Center, give a damn (or a dam for that matter)to the common man? Doesnt look like. In that context, a bit off topic though, through out last 2 months, Kashmir was buring and I didnt see face of our respected Home Minister Mr Patil on any TV Channel. Was he sleeping by any chance? May be I need to watch TV more closely... I just dont feel like typing anymore. The links above explains it all....

4 comments:

Aurko said...

Just like your post on Farm Loan this is also an eye opener. Its surprising that inspite of the history of floods this point has been missed by most of the news agencies and surprisingly the reasons have always been the same - broken embankments. You can take a look at the following link as well which briefly gives a history of the floods http://in.rediff.com/news/2008/sep/01guest.htm
Its also surprising that the issue is not new as you have pointed out. while surfing the net i found this one too http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1620/16200650.htm
now what can you say to the million of people who are battling for their lives. Government will definitely do something now because it has been brought to national attention. But is there anything which can prevent the governments from showing such apathy. is it really the fault of the government or the people? Mumbai is a place where the people are very conscious of their political/ social rights. Mumbai is flush with money. All the right reasons to expect the government to be more responsive to its peoples' needs but let the first downpour come and we have the government tripping over itself. So any ideas on what could be the solution to such government apathy/ negligence?

Anonymous said...

Bihar has been a sore spot for the country, but the apathy shown now is unpardonable. To add to it all I read an article where the Nepal government has apologised to India saying it was a mistake the breach in the Kosi River went unnoticed.

http://www.ibnlive.com/news/bihar-floods-nepal-apologises-says-the-breach-went-unnoticed/72493-3.html

How will they make amends?? a potion to revive the dead???

These are times when we feel helpless as an educated working class in the country who knows abt a lot of things it can do nothing about!!!

Vijit Kumar said...

hey, yo uhave great writing skills.

I like to way you have tried to highlight the problems faced by Bihar and its people.

CH said...

People always come last, that's why politic is ugly...