After a severe drought and hot summer the long awaited late rain was a respite for the people of Gujarat.
Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times
But that this respite could turn into a nightmare for most parts of the state was not imagined.
First the floods played havoc in Morbi of Rajkot district. Then it was Surendranagar district that was hit.
After that, it was South Gujarat. There was a heavy rain fall causing flash floods with loss of lives, cattle and inundation of land and washing away of seeds.
Roads in cities like Ahmedabad have been damaged. There were potholes. Many trees mere uprooted. In Gujarat , a total 10 districts are todayflood affected . These are Banaskantha , Mehsana , Patan, Morabi , Sabarkantha , Ahmedabad , Anand , Aravalli , Mahisagar & Surendranagar . Gujarat has 25 districts.
But it was the incessant rains in North Gujarat that 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 and damaging the roads.
In the meanwhile, the Jetpura dam of Rajasthan has been completely washed away on the midnight of July 24, midnight, which deluged Dhanera, causing massive destruction.
People and cattle were swept away. As I write, dead bodies of human beings and cattle are being dug out of the mud. As the water recedes, even more dead bodies will be visible.
At the last count, about 300 people have died and more than 10000 cattles are also lost. Crops have been damaged. There is heavy soil erosion. Grain amounting to close to a thousand tonnes have been damaged and lie rotting, setting off a stink. As many as 1464 bus routes and 12 trains have been cancelled .
Most significantly, in addition to this destruction, there are today 12 breaches in the Narmada Canal. The breaches are 2 kms wide and have inundated the villages. These breaches caused more death and misery: people died in their sleep in the dead of night and many died due to the lack of alert signal or warning.
Officialdom and the government’s machinery is brushing off the magnitude of the 2017 flood , calling it a repeat of the floods of 2015. No lessons have been learnt by government, however.
Long pending work of repairs have not been taken up. The state government’s own GR (resolution) for relief and rehab brought out in 2015 have not been followed.
In 2015, Government of Gujarat has issued a G.R. for Flood relief ( it includes Cashdole , Compensation for the death of Humanbeing & Animals & other loss)
There has been no uniformity or consistency of Relief Disbursement in all flood affected districts.
The Mystery & Silence Behind the Collage of the Jetpura Dam in Rajsthan
All roads today lead to Dahnera which is the worst affected area after the flood water from the broken dam at Jetpura entered Dhanera and nearby places after midnight. Reliable sources say there was no warning about the breaking of the dam Jetpura.
The collapse of the Jetpura dam is steeped in mystery. First of all the break of the Jetpura dam has been underplayed and hardly mentioned or explained.
When the Gujarat Minister, 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. Since, the breaking of the dam has been appearing in done reports in the media, but without analysis or investigation.
Why is the Gujarat Govt. hiding the very fact of the breaking of the dam and the flood waters entering Gujarat from Rajasthan?
It is very clear that eithrr there has been a lack of co- ordination between both the states or the governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat have been caught napping.
It is generally believed that calamities are calamities and the state administration is helpless to face the fury of nature. So, no blame can fall at the door of either the government or the administration. It is natural that when natural calamities occur, full cooperation to relief and rehabilitation is always extended. But from the floods in Gujarat in 2017 it is crystal clear that the damage could have been minimised if proper precautionary measures had been taken. The question that remains is, have precautionary measures been taken by the state governments of Gujarat, Rajasthan and the Central government? And, if not, why not?
Visits of powerful functionaries to the areas affected by natural disasters is routine, deployment of armed forces for rescue operations gives succour. Relief packages are disbursed but neither the outbreak of calamities nor the disbursal of relief have ever really been subject to a public social audit. With the absence of a watchdog, it is the ruling party and their lieutenants who control the disbursement of relief. To date, the 2015 flood relief work has not been executed and the state government has faced no harsh or searching questions on this failure.
A walkover for the ruling party
Ironically the six Congress MLAs elected from Banaskantha district. are in a 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 leaders of the ruling party for pittance.
Is there any connection between the breaking of the Jetpura in Rajasthan in dead night and deluging the Dhanera and it’s adjacent areas? Or else why is the fact of the breaking of the Jetpura dam been kept mysteriously secret?
The Gujarat election is going to be held shortly and Loksabha election will be held in0 2019. Now all the preparations are going on by the ruling BJP viewing the election.
As isusual RSS has taken over all the places of calamities and are engaged at points for public donations. With the absence of any other force,it has become easy for the RSS to project themselves as the only savior of the affected people of the natural calamities. Since 1995 , BJP -ruled state government has been giving a free hand to thr RSS to monopolise relief activities in the State .
There are reports that any donations by citizens has been seized by the government officials and stickers of the BJP are stamped on the relief materials. This is a ‘most normal practice’in Gujarat.
As said earlier there are flood everywhere but the whole attention is on Banaskantha. So the relief disbursement to the other regions like Saurashtra, Central Gujarat, and South Gujarat will be neglected.
The crucial questions, issues behind the Gujarat flood of 2017 are being briged aise. With no public commision of inquiry being appointed, they will remains unanswered. Meanwhile an aggressive and unscrupulous ruling dispensation, greedy for power and control –unchallenged by a de images opposition–seeks to convert the floods and the destruction into one more electoral strategy in the poll bound state.