Gujarat Earthquake - Narendra Modi Government has done its bit

Sunday, March 04, 2001 Vishaal 0 Comments

No disaster can be perfectly managed except in a utopian state. A huge Indian landmass and lack of infrastructure makes it almost impossible. There is no use in quarreling over niche terms when the need of the hour is to stand up collectively and help our brethren in the time of crisis.

The government has tried its best to deal with the situation, the armed forces were the first to start the relief work. And the troops have proved their mettle. Within hours of the earthquake, the Border Security Force and the Army were out helping in rescue operations, and moving food and water to victims.

Then the reconstruction activities began. The food and relief were reaching not just the towns but the villages as well, and the district administration was putting in place the basic infrastructure of roads, electricity, telecom facilities, water and civic services. There was not a part of the state that has not been touched by it. There was no short fall in medicines, doctors or money. Teams from the NGO’s and foreign countries had camped in Gujarat to help the people of Gujarat.

Presently NGO’s, present people with alternatives to governmental remedies in terms of disaster management. RSS cadres swung into action as the calamity struck. They were one of the first to reach the disaster prone areas and help the victims. Apart from the NGO’s and the relief agencies, the religious groups, caste-based organisations, and a large number of smaller, quickly put together volunteer groups mobilised relief materials and reached Gujarat. Some political organisations also participated whole-heartedly. These organisations must be encouraged. People must get involved and take part during the hour of crisis. Vigilant citizen groups must be formed so that they tackle issues and there is no over dependence on the government. Citizens must realise their duties.

People in the seismic zone must be extra careful. Reports clearly bring to light the negligence of the builders, the people and above all the corrupt government officials in Gujarat. The builders didn’t take care to comply with the rules while building and the buyers didn’t bother to ask. even buildings built six months back had collapsed by the earthquake. Rabindra Jayendralal Vasavada, fellow of the Indian Institute of Architecture and consultant to the department of archaeology investigated into the faulty construction of the buildings. He observed that the buildings are illegally built, ignoring the rules on an unprecedented scale. People and the builders very well know that they can’t go on adding storeys without support, yet they go for it. The people who try to save some money and compromise with quality, are, in turn, playing with their own lives. Most of the buildings in Gujarat were not insured. This also shows the irresponsibility of the people in such seismically sensitive region. Criminal actions need to be initiated against the guilty builders and the corrupt officials.

At present rescuing and rehabilitation of the earthquake victims is more important than bringing up issues and declaring government guilty.
The Government has sensed the necessity of disaster management and the result is a separate legislation for disaster management which would be in force in some time. An all-party meeting convened by the government in New Delhi on February third had decided to set up a permanent disaster management committee. Another committee consisting of representatives from political parties was constituted to monitor the relief efforts in Gujarat. This is not the ultimate solution for the problem until and unless people contribute. They must realise their responsibility and be vigilant. The government did not have a national policy on disaster and they should be given some time to plan.

At present rescuing and rehabilitation of the earthquake victims is more important than bringing up issues and declaring government guilty. The civilian society must co-ordinate with the government for best results.