Its been extremely long since I wrote anything. I had written couple of posts but really missed to post them in this space. I couldnt post them later as they dont seem relevant anymore. Anyways I do miss this space and will try to be regular.
What really motivated me to come back and write this post was the recent Beas River Tragedy at Himachal Pradesh. The students who lost their lives were being mourned by the entire country. While it is really sad to know so many lives were lost due to an unfortunate incident, I do think the media has been extremely crazy with this incident. The amount of attention given and the way it was all twisted and presented cannot be appreciated. It is certainly so tragic to the families who have lost their hopes, but it is not because of a negligent instructor or an official of the Largi dam. In any excursion trips, it is quite common that students do get over excited and tend to break rules. Breaking rules is not always safe. Incidents like this could happen. How can anyone blame others for this sort of incident. What if there was no dam and it was natural gush from the upstream who would the media blame? the instructors for not monitoring them or the college authorities for organizing a trip like that? or the parents who sent their young ones to the trip?. I may appear insensitive making these comments. But I cant agree with the media's over enthusiastic and biased reporting. Also the families, I do express my heartfelt sympathies for them but I dont think they should start blame game to make it worse. And of course the co-students of the trip and college authorities shouldnt really be biased when they judge situations like this.
Its a river with dam upstream and there could be a sudden surge at any time. This might be unknown to the students but the flow that started coming can be clearly seen. Even in the video released revealed that the first few seconds clearly show a very low level of water and ample space for the students to escape the flood. But only until the water level rised the students did not start to make a move. This was clearly seen. How could this act be some one else's responsibility? When you are visiting a new place its a common sense fact that you need to double check your personal safety. One's personal safety cannot be responsibility of a second person. Students were not school goers but matured enough to understand what is safe and unsafe. They were just pretty excited to see natural scenic beauty of the place that they ignored the safety issues. At least the first instance of flow was not ferocious to not be escaped. It was either the delay in plan or spontaneity or sheer excitement that ruled out options for escaping. However, it was brave of some students who risked their lives to save their friends. I have been seeing Facebook posts from the students of the college posting that this was an injustice act done to their friends. I am seriously in doubt that if these students were blindly carried away by the media attention. There has to be some common sense judgement before we get into allegations and that too allegations that involve other people's lives. Those students and youngsters who blindly support this because you think its human to do so, please do give a second thought. Are you not aware of incidents where people get washed away in gushing waters and should know your limits while crossing such borders?? Are you not aware of escaping a flooding channel as soon as you realise it may rise?? Are these not common sense thoughts??? Am sorry for those students who lost lives but I wish you guys were a little more careful and alert. As a saying goes "Time and Tide wait for none"...this was nothing but unfortunate.
But what about the announcements of exgratia by the ministers?? Does that seem a valid justification for the parents? What about people who have been washed away in floods? Has the government or media been so concerned in such cases? Every now and then, we witness incidents like school kids being washed away in flooding waters of small creeks in villages, but have they been compensated for those incidents? This was a fun trip and they wantedly went beyond danger points spotting no sign of water. And unfortunately water started flowing and claimed lives. Had they been a little more alert and quick, at least another 10 people would have been alive. RIP dear youngsters. Again I may sound rude but I dont see a point why they should be compensated?
I had a discussion with one of my colleagues who worked for long in the Himachal/Uttarkand region researching the quality of soil, ground and nature of rocks etc. He opined that this region is an extremely sensitive region and is not suitable for heavy habitation. Whereas our people have ignorantly over developed it to spoil the eco-system of that region. Uttarkand floods last year was the best answer we humans could get. However, we are still going for more and more irresponsible development. While this is not completely the reason, the infrastructure development has brought in immense tourist attraction for this place, but its often ignored that there are many hidden dangers too. One such is this. Although this is not a natural disaster, this could have been avoided.
Coming to the authorities and their negligence to inform, don't we know how well the system in those regions has functioned all these days? And how could we risk our lives trusting some unknown authorities? What happened to signals given by the locals? Why were they ignored? I think its high time we stop blaming different people for the incident and erase the negative propaganda that the media has been making. It was not anyone's fault but misfortune. My deepest condolences to families and friends who have lost their loved ones.