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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

a paradise of fools

It is a sad state of affairs that all of us live in a paradise of fools – some are more foolish than others but the fact remains that we all belong to the same category. Suffixing degrees and diplomas to our names does not take away the fact that we are forever being taken for rides by those less foolish than us.

It is known fact that whenever there is a large gathering of people, disasters wait to happen, especially if the gathering has religious connections. We have seen it happen in our country during the Kumbhmela, the Ganga Sagar mela and other similar events.

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The religious events occur at fixed intervals and pilgrims travel from far off places to take a dip in the holy river and wash away their sins. The location where the festivities are to be held are known, the authorities have enough advance notice to put their acts into position in time – unfortunately, such things seldom happens. Most of the people who fall victims to stampedes are usually the women, the aged and the infirm along with children. Majority of these disasters are man made and could have been prevented if properly taken care of in the first instance. At the end of the day, head counts are taken of the dead and the injured and Government authorities lose no time to announce compensation packages. Does any one know how many finally get compensated?

And, whenever any railway accident occurs, the Minister descends on the scene to pacify the injured, pay homage to the dead and make the usual announcements for the benefit of the general public. The Government continuously harps on a transparent administration and the citizen’s right to Information – it would be worthwhile for some NGOs to try to unearth statistics of how many families of the dead have so far received the promised compensations from the Governments. Let such details be made public so that the citizen can show up the authorities for the unfulfilled promises and prevail upon them not to make a mockery of disasters and catastrophes.

It will, in all probability, be revealed that the relevant papers of the few, who have dared to seek compensation, are tied up in red tape and collecting dust or the matters have been referred to the Honorable Court in view of disputes. The outflows from the coffers of the Government are not there and everyone sits pretty to announce one more batch off compensation – a case of the same alligator being shown again and again.

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