In a country where natural calamities are frequent phenomena, the alertness and alacrity of the government to respond to come to the rescue of the people in hazardous situations is a much needed relief. The attention paid by the government of India to immediately extend helping hand to the flood ravaged Kerala is a positive indication of a responsible government. The Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while struggling to take rescue and relief measures admitted the fact. First Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and then Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the state battered by the worst flood in ninety years and told the people that the centre is fully aware of their distress. Prime Minister rushed to the state on August 17 and took aerial survey next day. An immediate relief of Rs 500 crore was announced as a partial measure. He was all praise for the fighting spirit of the people. The centre is still to gauge the extent of the loss while the state government has put it at Rs 25000 crores.
The God’s own country is facing the fury of God and when the wrath surpasses the limit, man becomes helpless with all his mighty modern material. On August 19, the death toll was reportedly more than 350 while more than 7 lakh people were evacuated from flooded areas to safer places. The Chief Minister said when the flood water began receding, efforts commenced to bring the displaced people to normal life. He said detailed plans were in place for rehabilitation and restoration of normal life. Besides voluntary organisations, other state governments are rushing with their mite and even Arab Emirates and Qatar have announced relief. Now it is up to the state government to see that relief reaches the real victims. As usual the social media are playing villain. Some messages are reported to have said that relief material was overflowing and no more was needed. Some other advised the people to do relief on communal line. These mischief mongers should be identified and punished severely. In many places road, rail and air connections are fully damaged or partially cut.
It is an irony that as soon as normal life is restored, the calamity is forgotten altogether. Commissions and committees are set up, but their recommendations are ignored no sooner the tragedy is over and people are left to face the floods frequently. Neither the state nor the centre is bothered to implement these committees’ comments and advice. The main causes for flooding are illegal constructions on river banks, lakes, tanks and ponds. The concrete jungle is eating them dangerously. Mining and quarrying activities in these areas are another reason. Environmental warnings are ignored blissfully. Resultantly we are facing floods in different parts of the country. Some states which faced the situation are Kerala in 2018, Gujarat in 2017, Chennai in 2015, Jammu and Kashmir in 2014 and Uttarkhand in 2013. If we fail to take compulsive precautionary measures, we have to say that these calamities are man-made rather than nature’s fury.
The government of India fulfilled its obligation and nothing was special about it, but the BJP government’s sincerity toward the Left-ruled state will go a long way to influence the people’s opinion. It will boost the party’s efforts to create space in the state. It is up to Amit Shah the party’s president to materialize it.