Saturday, November 26, 2005

Floods? Here? You must be kidding!

It took me a moment to come to terms with what the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was talking of, when briefing press people about the flood situations in the State, in DD News Channel (at 9:20 PM). Though I can’t recall the exact words used by her, it went something to this effect: The positive effect of the rains is that the lakes are full, the dams are full and ground water levels have risen. Within a few days, things will be back to normal.

If only the response to devastating floods from the Chief of a State can be as simple as that! The damage to crop, the property losses, the roads torn apart, the cancelled trains and the resultant hardships faced by passengers, the rail tracks that remain twisted, the eroded bridges, the buses washed off the roads, the travelers injured, the scores of them carried along the rivers, the bodies recovered and lost – they all seem to have been discounted to arrive at a net profit scenario! Yes, things will be back to normal in a matter of days. The short to medium term reality might be a better ground water situation in the state. But, is this all that a Chief has got to say about, when it’s still misery all around? It is either a dismal effort to project the Government as one which is so optimistic even in the face of such wide spread damage, a ploy to play down the severity of the situation, or it is a blatant display of utter ignorance (if not arrogance) about the scenario on the ground. In any case, it underscores the scant regard that people in power have towards the sufferings and sentiments of the affected people.

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