Tuesday, August 2, 2005

What’s goin on?

What is going on, I say? Ayodhya attack, Gujarat floods, London blast, Egypt blast, renewed attack in Kashmir last week, attempt in Delhi, blast in Punjab train. Seriously, what’s going on?

Rains in Mumbai, damage it has caused, its unbelievable. I did not bother about this piece of news, till I spent the entire weekend in front of TV, watching all news channels. All those images of people trudging in water, in rain. For more than a week now.

This is not something out of the blue. Mumbai has been suffering rain damage every monsoon, from quite a long time. For that matter, I remember, during a month stay in 1997 in Mumbai, I was stranded thanks to overflowing roads. I walked home for 10km and stayed home next day. I was lucky. So many people who depend on the trains, walked almost across the entire city, all night & day to get home.

About something so natural and regular, the administration did nothing from so long. Took no action. I mean I know, memory is short. But this is practically amnesia. Or good will thinking - that oh nothing will go wrong next monsoon.

For now, rest of Maharashtra is also severely affected. Indore is flooded. Calcutta is usually in a similar situation about overflowing roads. When Bangalore receives marginal drizzle, all drains start overflowing. There have been serious damage and losses because of that last year and before. If we were to receive a fraction of what Mumbai got, I hate to think what will happen?

Floods in Urban areas - I think even now nobody wants to adapt and believe that yes that’s possible. It’s like a myth, that oh other than crime, there is no danger in cities. This is nature’s fury, yes. But what kind of people allow weak buildings to be overpopulated? What kind of administration allows for slums to come up, by treacherous hillside, with a landslide waiting to happen?

Administration is good to manage an existing properly running system. Any crisis and they start running away, hide and pray for us to forget it all - which actually we just might. Seriously why the hell do we pay taxes for, if we don’t have basic stuff in normal life and no help in times of crisis? I doubt even a fraction of all that working class tax-paying public in Mumbai can see any returns when they need it most, for what they have done so far.

I know a lot of throw contemptuous sneer at news channels, for sensationalizing, for self-back-slapping. But hey, if they jolt up anyone in the administration, if they affect the way town-planning is done henceforth, then they have played their role well.

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