Human-made Calamity of Severe Nature
To the fullest satisfaction of all the political parties the centre has announced the Chennai floods as a “Calamity of severe nature. Actually this is what the political parties in the state are expecting.
The other day, there was a discussion going on in a Tamil TV channel, in which a former bureaucrat of the TN government, a sports quiz programmer and politicians one from the ruling party and the other from an opposition party. The event manager of the TV programme was asking the participants from the political parties about the norms to declare a calamity as a national calamity. They were not able to describe. But they have knowledge about the higher quantity of funds that will be released from the union government.
The former government official and the sports analyst had to describe the details about the norms the government is adopting a devastation as a national calamity.
The political parties here are calculating about the quantum of funds but are not worried about the calamity. That is why all the parties are asking for more funds from the centre at the same time of managing the trouble with the involvement of all the political parties in the relief works. All are interested when funds received and to take political mileage out of it. For making a demand for funds, the central government is required. For relief works, the centre’s role is accepted to a certain extent that is the involvement of army and navy staff in rescuing. And for assessment, identification of the affected and distribution of money and materials, the centre is not needed and their role is not required that is cosidered as ‘infringement on state’s rights.
Voluntary agencies are also welcome only upto the level of rescuing and providing food and other essential materials like dress, soaps and medicines. When the relief materials are taken by voluntary agencies the ruling party is capable of seizing the materials and devote their time and energy to affix the ‘amma stickers’ over each and every pack meant for distribution to create an impression that it was their contribution. It is not known whether the central government has taken stock of what is happening at the root level.
But no one is probing why this calamity has happened and refuse to identify this is a man made calamity. More than forty five years of maladministration, which permitted and approved encroachments made one after the other in the water bodies in around the metro city. Nature is not a threat to the socieity but the political majors are.
When a proposal was made for the expansion of the Chennai airport all the political parties joined together and voiced against the expansion expressing deep concern about the loss of agricultural lands which were identified for acquiring. Now the prime minister who came here to view the flood situation had to land at a newly developed airport about 80 kms from the city. At the same time the city is expanding upto Arkonam and beyond on one side and upto Madurantakam on the other side with all the cultivable lands turning house sites.
The realtors who were doing brisk business with a lot of assurances about the welfare of the occupants who have booked their houses, villas and apartments have not come out during the floods.
Mugalivakkam is a place where a multi-storeyed building under construction collapsed when there was no natural threat, and took away the lives of nearly 100 labourers. The state government announced solatium to the families of the victims, before any body asked for it, that too for the labourers of Tamilnadu only. Chandra babu naidu was left with no other option and had to announce similar anouncement for the labourers from Andhra, and so did his Orissa counterpart.
In that process, the people have appreciated the government gesture and no one is ready to ask the government about how the approval was given. All the officials who have executed oral orders and all those who have issude oral orders are sitting pretty. One fire accident occured in a commercial complex and none in the Town Planning autority were brought to book. Hundreds of investors who dreamt of a comfortable living remain shattered. Even if similar accidents of fire occur, no one will question why the violations took place and tell who should be held responsible for such recurrences.
The centre and the ruling party at the centre should also not behave like as its predecessors and remain a mute spectator and close its eyes and refuse to see the reality. It should have a clear say over all the matter and should streamline the relief and reconstruction, since the man made calamity occured and rattled a metro city.
Reaping political gains out of people’s sufferings should not be the sole motto of the politicians.
The general elections to the state assembly is due in next May. The centre should think whether it will be wise to conduct an election when most northern districts in the state are yet to recover. Postponing of the elections by another six months should be done and by that time the centre should keep the administration in the state in good stead.