Lessons to learn from tsunami

THE tsunami tragedy has reiterated the weakness and vulnerability of humans as a species. That despite all modernity and advances in technology we can be hit so severely and across such a large area on the planet is a signal towards our inadequacy of sustainable living. We must learn lessons from this tragedy. I do not think it is only just a matter of having a sophisticated warning system, international relief and aid or even protection of the affected people from disease and hunger.

We have lost respect for nature and its forceful ways in our unguided insatiable greed. We have come far enough where it has actually become an abuse. Ironically though, we are the only species on this earth that can comprehend the consequences of our actions today and prevent the harmful effects that threaten our very existence.

The oceans are overfished, the coastlines are overpopulated, the forests are finishing, the mountains are full of filth and garbage, the waters are overpolluted. It is time to put an end to this deplorable trend as we would not last without them. We can only co-exist.

CHEENA KANWAL, Architect & environmental conservationist, New Shimla




The government reportedly heard about the tsunami on TV! Sounds unbelievable! If true, doesn't it betray the total failure of the Meteorological department and its working? Whatever happened to our much-touted satellites, early warning systems and communication network? Thousands of precious lives would have been saved and considerable damage as also expenditure involved in relief and rescue operations avoided, if the scientific establishments had been more efficient and vigilant to sound timely alarm signals about the approaching calamity.

It seems we are least prepared to tackle unforeseen situations and handle crises in this country in spite of all tall claims of technological advancement.

Wg-Cdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida


Tsunami devastation calls for some long-term measures. Each Indian, small or big, needs to pause for a while and do some little bit for the victims. Each family without a child should adopt at least one wonder creation of God to bring him or her up. At least one child's education up to graduation level must be supported by those who can extend such a gesture comfortably. The Union Government exempt such families from the levy of income tax up to Rs 1 lakh per annum additionally.

For those who cannot extend aid, even their silent prayers can work miracles for the needy. Every other Indian, who is not under debt, must spare as much as he or she can out of anything surplus over his/her basic sustenance needs.



The editorial "Caught unawares" (Dec 31) aptly analyses the apathy of the government and bungling by the bureaucracy towards setting up of an early warning system for killer earthquakes and floods. Globally, the costs of taking pre-emptive action are far less than what is spent on recovery.

A stitch in time saves nine. Therefore, the government should set up a tsunami warning system with a worldwide network. We have a 6,500-km-long sea coastline. An effective national disaster management system should also be put in place to tackle national calamities in the future.

Wg-Cdr GURMAIL SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


On priority, we need to set up a warning centre for predicting tsunami or any other type of disaster. In addition, I offer the following suggestions. The Centre should divide the tsunami-devastated area into various segments for adoption by state governments, NGOs and MNCs. The state governments should come forward to adopt all the affected villages in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

The state governments should adopt orphans. They must be provided good education with special privileges. In the Army schools, para military schools and colleges, Sainik schools, AIT colleges and nursing colleges, a dedicated quota should be given to these children.

SHIKA PATHANIA, HMV College, Jalandhar Cantt


Alexander Courage had very wisely remarked, "The strength of religion lies not in the unquestionable answer, but in the unanswerable question". Every man ought to know that he is bad and that God is good. But, sad to say, the tsunami tragedy becomes necessary to shock the self-centered, complacent and wicked human beings to reality.

The Black Sunday has taught us the hard way to be better and more caring human beings. Let us believe that God is in full control of the situation created by tsunami. This is the right time for us to identify an area of our life we would like to change for the better.


What ails hydel projects

THE report "Eruption of water hits hydel project" (Dec 11) is a sad tale as to how due to a faulty mode of dewatering of the power house, work on the Mukona hydel project has been disrupted for months.

One should not lose sight of the fact that due to the mode of dewatering adopted, hellions or tunnels are likely to get formed which, in turn, would endanger the stability of the power house structure. This may call for structural changes in the foundation before the placement of concrete at a huge cost.

It may be recalled that when the Ganguwal Power House of the Nangal Hydel Channel was under construction, engineers like A.N. Malhotra and Harbans Singh devised the well-point system of dewatering in their workshop.

They successfully carried out the construction of the power plant later. Clearly, Punjab's engineers need not always look for Roorkee's consultants for advice. Retired engineers settled at Chandigarh could also be contacted for timely professional help.

G.S. DHILLON, Chandigarh


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