Disasters and Accidents: A Repeated Pattern

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

When it comes to disasters and accidents, we Indians have a deadly consistency to wake up after the tragedy. Weather its floods, pandemic or our critical infrastructure, until there is human cost involved, it doesn’t bring our attention to the problem but the irony of the tragedy is that we won’t learn from it.  The Air India Express flight which crashed in Kozhikode could have been saved. Those pilots and passengers could have been among us had the Airport authorities did their job.

Why would the traffic control allow the plane to land in the inclement weather? Did the ground control inspected runway for safety prior to landing? Did they not think of diverting the plane to other nearby airport that may have a longer runway or better landing conditions? It will be a usual government procedure of setting up an inquiry, releasing a report with recommendations and calling it a day. Now it has been known that concerns were raised about length of runway in the past, as per a report in Indian Express in 2017, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) ran into protests and high land acquisition costs when they tried to acquire land for runway extension. If that was the case then and they knew that the length of runway was not adequate, then why an alternative arrangement was not sought?

Floods have become a reoccurrence on our TV screens every August. Bihar, Assam and Mumbai seems to be cursed eternally to drown in waters every year. Every year, its the same problem all over again, people in neck deep water with their family and belongings trying to go to a safe place, it was so worst this year that even Rhinos in Kaziranga National Park ran away from the reserve to escape the deluge. Can’t we have better drainage or a channel or tunnel system to route the excess water for a better use at a later time?  At least, we can research the problem or give it a try, but no, that’s not how we do things in this country. Millions of rupees in taxpayer’s money that is collected by local governments in the name of flood relief and yet the outcome is zero. Center too is to blame; they never question state and local governments on these issues and believe that throwing money at the problem is the only solution at hand. Why blame everything at the nature every time?

Our problem are not natural disasters or accidents, our problem is the mentality, the mindset. Our representatives are too busy in politics to look into our problems. For ones, we need serious discussion around issues that really affect us all.

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