By Dwarika Nath Rath*
After a severe drought and hot summer the long awaited late rain was a respite for the people of Gujarat.
But it will be a nightmare for most parts of the state was not conceived.
First the flood played havoc in Morbi of Rajkot district. Then the Surendranagar district. Then there was a glimpse of flood in South Gujarat. There was a heavy rain fall creating flash flood with loss of lives, cattle and inundation of land and washing away the seeds. The roads in cities like Ahmedabad were damaged. There were potholes. Many trees were uprooted. In Gujarat, total 10 districts are flood affected . These are Banaskantha, Mehsana, Patan, Morabi, Sabarkanth, Ahmedabad, Anand, Aravalli, Mahisagar and Surendranagar.
But the incessant rain of North Gujarat deluged the North Gujarat beyond imagination . The incessant rain in the adjoining districts of Rajasthan caused flood and the flood water entered North Gujarat overflowing the dams damaging the roads. In the mean while the Jetpura dam of Rajasthan was washed away on 24th July midnight which deluged Dhanera beyond comprehension. People, cattle were swept away. Still the dead bodies of human being and cattle are digged out of the mud. As water will recede more dead bodies will be visible. Till now about 300 people have died, and more than 10,000 cattleheads have perished. Crops are damaged. There is heavy soil erosion. The grains amounting thousand ton are damaged and stinking. 1464 bus routes were and 12 trains are cancelled .
In addition to that, there are 12 breaches in the Narmada Canal. The breaches are of 2 kms and have inundated villages when people were asleep in dead night and many died due to the lack of alert signal or warning.
It is said that the 2017 flood is just the repetition of 2015 flood but no lesson has been learnt by the government. The pending work of repairs have not been taken up. Not only that , in the year of 2015, Government of Gujarat has issued a G.R. for Flood relief ( it includes Cashdole , Compensation for the death of Humanbeing & Animals & other loss .) is not followed by the government itself. There is no uniformity of Relief Disbursement in all flood affected districts
The Mystery of breaking of Jetpura Dam in Rajsthan and the silence
All roads lead to Dahnera which is the worst affected area because the flood water from the broken dam Jetpura entered Dhanera and nearby places in the mid night. As per the reliable source there was no warning about the breaking of the dam Jetpura.
The Breaking of Jetpura dam is a mysterious one. First of all the break of Jetpura dam has been underplayed and hardly mentioned or explained. When the Gujarat Minister Shree Shankar Chaudhury was asked by the ETV journalist he evaded the question. It appears he had something to hide about the breaking of the dam. Now the breaking of the dam is coming in media in an overt covert way but hardly explained. Why the Gujarat government was hiding of the breaking of the dam and flood water entering from Rajasthan to Gujarat.
It is very clear that there was a lack of co- ordination of both the state Rajasthan and Gujarat or both the government caught napping.
It is generally believed that calamities are calamities and the government administration is helpless to face the fury of the nature. And so no blames be castigated to the government and administration. Rather all kinds of co- operation be given to the Govt, it is believed. Of course some time Human is powerless to confront the fury of nature but it is crystal clear that the damage could have been minimised if proper precautionary measures were taken. The question is has the precautionary measures taken by the state Govt of Gujarat, Rajasthan and the Central government If not why?
Is it very normal to think catastrophe happens? It is normal. Normal is the visit of PM, CM , Ministers, administrators, deployment of military for rescue operation etc. Moreover to declare the considerable amount of money as flood relief. And these flood relief works has never been accounted before people of India. There is no people watch dog system to watch the Relief and rehabilitation work by the citizens. Everything is done by the ruling party and their trusted lieutenants. And 2015 flood relief work has not been executed and government and the administration are so sacrosanct that they are above questions.
Reaping political benefits from the natural disasters are one of the most heinous crimes. But it always happens.
All know that during the floods in the different parts of the country there was Nitish Kumar episode in Bihar. The Bihar episode followed by the series of resignations of the Congress MLA and joining BJP in the State. The Congress party to save the remaining Congress MLAs went for a hide out to Bangalore. These MLAs are supposed to cast their vote for Shree Ahmed Patel as the Member of Rajya Sabha. The absence of the Congress MLA left the affected people of Banaskanta with out their representetives and paving the defacto presence of ruling BJP. The Ruling BJP is in mission to make Congress mukta Bharat and many Congress leaders are lured to join BJP.
A walkover for the ruling party
Ironically Congress have six elected MLAs from Banaskantha district. And now they are in hide out in Bangalore.
In this hour of natural disaster their elected representative are far away. The sufferers are left helpless and compelled to crawl before the BJP leaders for pittance. What a shame for the Congress and jubilation for the ruling BJP party!
Can there be any connection between the breaking of the Jetpura in Rajasthan in dead night and deluging the Dhanera and it’s adjacent ? Otherwise why the breaking of the Jetpura dam has been kept mysteriously secret?
The Gujarat election is going to be held shortly and Loksabha election will be held in 2019. Now all the preparations are going on by the ruling BJP viewing the election.
As a matter of fact as usual RSS has taken over all the places of calamities and are engaged at points for public collection. As usual it is a regular action of RSS to project themselves as the only savior of the affected people of the natural calamities. Since 1995 , BJP State government is giving free hand to RSS to monopolise relief activities in the State.
It has come to notice the collection of the civil societies is seized by the government officials and stickers of BJP are stamped in the relief materials. This is one of the most normal practices in Gujarat.
As said earlier there are flood everywhere but the whole attention is Banaskantha. So the reliefs to the other regions like Saurashtra, Central Gujarat, and South Gujarat will be neglected.
In coming days many more things are going to happen centering the recent flood in Gujarat, 2017.
*Senior social activist based in Gujarat