Reflections on a CATASTROPHE

They absorbed this agony the same way as they have suffered numerous cataclysms in the past.
Reflections on a CATASTROPHE
File Photo

It was on this day, a year ago, Kashmir faced the calamity of unprecedented floods. The fury of waters ravaged everything that came their way.

The commercial establishments, private residential houses, hospitals, educational institutions, hotels et.al  were devastated. In the commercial hub of Srinagar city where the owners of business houses lost valuable possessions worth millions of rupees, the thousands of books and valuable manuscripts stored in some prominent book shops were washed away.

The people suffered the catastrophe with helpless silence. They absorbed this agony the same way as they have suffered numerous cataclysms in the past. Enduring the sufferings has become a part of the social psyche of people in Kashmir.

In this calamity, the young people, who were not followed by camera crews and who remain unidentified, played a valiant role in rescuing people wherever they could reach. The fierce waters of flood appeared to have washed away the government apparatus which was not visible anywhere. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the security forces played a great role in the rescue operations in these floods. However, is it not an irony that the Indian Welfare State should deduct the expenses of these rescue operations from the relief package mercifully sanctioned for the rehabilitation and reconstruction caused by the devastation of floods for the state ?

This catastrophe should prod us to look inwards as well. The natural calamities are a global phenomena. The global warming and melting of glaciers has been a constant theme of debates at various levels throughout the world. This warrants vigilance and preparedness. It is for the government to inform the public on this score. 

Secondly, about four or five decades ago the state government had set up a Town Planning Organization. This department had to draw up plans for the urban development. It had very competent planners and architects with a lot of enthusiasm and a commitment  which would have resulted in the development of the city on scientific lines. However, the recommendations of this organization were not legally binding reducing it to a teeth less paper organization. It is time to revive this initiative.

Lastly, we should demand a 'White Paper' on the recent floods covering all its aspects from the state government. Let us not suffer this agony in silence.  

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