BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Unfortunately in India we fail to learn any lessons from the past experiences and in this regard the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir seems to be on the forefront. The claims by successive governments in the erstwhile state regarding preparedness to face the weather tragedies always fell flat. The situation is no better even today as can be well gauged from the fact that the past week’s heavy showers both in Jammu as well as Kashmir province resulting in life going out of gear besides extensive damage caused by rain water inundating residential areas even in the civil line areas not to talk of suburbs and hilly areas of the Union Territory. It is really an irony that in today’s world dominated by latest technology a few hours of rain creating havoc in multiple areas of the cities and towns resulting not only in loss of huge properties but many times also to loss of lives. Whenever the previous regimes were questioned on the status viz-a-viz the capability to prevent and face the crises in case of eventualities, it was quite conveniently asserted by those in governance in the erstwhile state that people need not worry as all arrangements are in place with the huge funds provided by the Centre for the purpose. Every year some of the areas get struck by natural catastrophes leaving behind trail of shortcomings on the part of government especially its concerned departments and this can only be termed as no less than dereliction of duty for which the respective governments need to own responsibility. It is quite astonishing to find that neither the people nor the government learn lessons from the past be it the Kashmir floods, the Chennai floods, the Ladakh cloudburst, the Uttaranchal, catastrophes, etc. Had some lessons been learnt from the past experiences the loss of life and property in Jammu due to few hours’ rainfall could have been virtually zero. However it is not only the government which is responsible bur the people themselves are no less responsible. To be more specific, people have encroached multiple Nallahs across Jammu raising residential houses over these, thus blocking the free flow of rain water via these natural routes which presently have either vanished due to encroachments or else choked due to dereliction of duties by the common citizens as well as the concerned authorities in the governance. People have also left no stone unturned in dumping heaps of garbage in the other Nallahs which again block these and rain water gets deviated to residential areas. Is it not really an irony that despite the Court having pronounced multiple judgements regarding the utmost priority to save the natural water bodies and Khads and Nallahs from encroachment and destruction, the authorities have failed to maintain these for the reasons best known to them? Today there is a need to focus more on prevention factor that has been ignored every time as is evident from the recurring loss of life and property every year. Had the authorities concerned prevented the people from encroaching and constructing residential houses in such areas there would have been bleak chances of such tragedies. Though late, let the people as well as the authorities take the initiative in this direction to avoid recurrence of the tragedies on this count during the ongoing rainy season. After all it is better late than never!