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National failure to tackle natural calamities

India has spent so much money on setting up the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). But owing to lack of a co-ordination between the NDMA and other government agencies, the government has failed to provide timely help to thousands of those stranded in Uttarakhand. Though human beings are helpless to prevent natural calamities, the least we can do is extend our helping hand in the forms of money, other materials and above all, our physical presence at the affected areas to contribute our mite in rescue operations is necessary.

Despite the Planning Commission’s repeated warnings to the governments of some hill states to check the construction of houses, guest houses and flats along the river banks, no efforts were made by the authorities to check these. Now the disastrous consequences are before us. This disaster has taken many lives, destroyed a large number of houses, property and crops. Thousands of people are still missing. If we had heeded to the warnings, the loss would not have been on such a grand scale. Now, the NDMA should immediately summon a meeting of all the officials, agencies and others so that relief operations could be put on the fast track as well as measures are taken to tackle natural calamities in future. 


Strange concept

The concept adopted by HP University of getting teachers evaluated by students with minimum 75 per cent attendance will not improve the performance of teachers. If a teacher takes strict action against students, they may manipulate their teachers’ evaluation to settle scores. I think the best way to evaluate teachers is by the performance of their students. If students perform well, it means teachers are doing their jobs excellently.


Caught ill-prepared

The havoc caused by heavy rains in the hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, leaving many dead and injured, is indeed sorrowful. This natural disaster has yet again exposed the lack of preparedness on the part of our government. There is still no proper mechanism in place or agency (especially dedicated to handle natural calamities) to effectively and promptly deal with such situations. Moreover, the only help comes from the Army, and other defence forces.

Our government wakes up only after a tragedy has happened. We always fail to make proper planning to deal with such problems and reduce our dependence on the Army. The Army is already doing a great service for the nation and it must not be burdened further.


Minimise ecological imbalance

Heavy rains, flash floods, cloudbursts, landslides, etc, are the acts of God. But we have further aggravated natural calamities by creating ecological imbalance. Due to the reckless deforestation and urbanisation, concrete jungles have come up where once used to be green forests. In Uttarakhand alone, dangerously located buildings have mushroomed in flagrant violation of the civic norms, which cannot be possible without the involvement of government officials.

Moreover, we cannot impede the passage of a river. Driven by greed, a few locals sell their land to colonisers and builders who raise high-rise buildings there. Also, meteorological forecasts are either not accurate or overlooked.

In the name of disaster management, we have only one help to depend on — to call in the Army. We do not try to learn from our past mistakes. The US, Japan and many other nations have shown to the world that they are capable of handling any disaster.

HL SHARMA, Amritsar

Don’t play with nature

We should respect nature and avoid interfering with it. The Uttarakhand disaster could have been minimised if we had not challenged nature by making housing colonies on natural channels of rivulets coming from the mountains. People in large numbers visit religious places like the Vaishno Devi, Chintpurni, Amarnath, Kedarnath and leave them littered with rubbish. Local people of these areas are also playing with nature by cutting trees to construct buildings over there. The government should ban the construction of buildings at religious places in all hill states.


Check urbanisation

The editorial ‘Raining destruction’ (June 20) rightly infers that man-made environmental destruction is the main factor for the recent havoc in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Thousands of people have been rendered homeless and many have lost their lives due to the flash floods and landslides. This is the result of playing with environment and unplanned infra projects. It is sad that the government has failed to check the large-scale urbanisation in hill states.

DR VK ANAND, Patiala

Jaundiced view

Apropos of the article ‘BJP’s Modi card’ (June 18) by Kuldip Nayar, the writer has taken a jaundiced view of the political situation arising out of Narendra Modi's elevation as the chairperson of the BJP campaign committee. In his opinion, the rise of Modi will endanger communal harmony, which is not true. He has tried to open up old wounds like the Godhra incident that will take us nowhere. We should remember that since that gory incident, not even a single riot has taken place in Gujarat. We should not hold only Modi responsible for that incident.





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