Wrath of Shiva

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The deluge that almost wiped out Kedarnath; leaving havoc, death and destruction in it's trail.

The deluge that almost wiped out Kedarnath; leaving havoc, death and destruction in it's trail.

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  • 1. WRATH of Shiva…….the deluge that engulfed Kedarnath. The Kedarnath temple - a sacred destination for Shiva followers - is one of the most revered shrines in India and is visited by millions every year. One of four highly revered shrines in Uttarkhand, the temple is located at a height of 3,581 metres above sea level in the Rudra Himalayan range. More than 13,000 people were at Kedarnath during the rain fury on June 14-16, 2013 and the official death toll to date is 1,000 and increasing. Increasing tourism for recreational purpose and ruthless commercialism are blamed for the destruction caused in Kedarnath, believes Vageeshling Maharaj, chief purohit of Kedarnath dham. She has always been regarded as the guardian of all pilgrims who visit the much revered Kedarnath shrine. However, on the 16th of June at around 6 in the evening the ancient idol was removed. Then, at 8 PM it happened. — The massive destruction that swept the hills and valleys of Uttarakhand bringing death in their wake. DHARA DEVI IDOL REMOVAL LED TO THE DELUGE?
  • 2. POLITICS PLAYED DIRTY PART  Indiscriminate mining,  haphazard urbanization,  rampant cutting of trees and forest covers,  use of dynamites for road construction,  encroachments, & buildings, hotels, guest houses and travel lodges on the river bed,  too many hydropower projects,  changing river courses,  poor structural safety -  this was a Himalayan disaster waiting to happen. Successive CAG reports have made scathing remarks on the lack of disaster management preparations in the state. Devastating floods in Uttarakhand were a disaster waiting to happen Uttarakhand is prone to frequent flash floods, land- slides and cloud bursts.
  • 3. BORDER ROADS ORGANIZATION ARMED FORCES OF INDIA INDIAN AIR FORCE The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force are neither trained nor equipped for flood relief or disaster man- agement. It is the leadership, discipline and cul- ture developed within the forces that have made them versatile. Their imaginative use of their military equipment, skills and their administra- tive abilities has stood them in good stead. ARMED FORCES LEAD DISASTER RESPONSE IN UTTARAKHAND………….. Army and the Air Force mounted massive rescue and relief operations in the flood and landslide affected areas of Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh while the Border Roads Organization deployed 3000 of its personnel and equipment, working for various projects, to clear the roads and to rescue the stranded people as per the Ministry of Defense release. Operation “Surya Hope” was launched with the aim of providing succor, hope & humanitarian assistance to the people in affected regions of Badrinath, Hemkund and Kedarnath.
  • 4. ……WHILE THE POLITICIANS TRADED BLOWS OVER WHO TAKES CREDIT FOR RELIEF EFFORTS, IN UTTER DISREGARD FOR THE AFFECTED PERSONS. ARMED FORCES PROVIDED WATER , FOOD & MEDICATIONS TO OVER 20,000 DISASTER AFFECTED PEOPLE AT GROUND ZERO…... …...WHILE POLITICIANS PLAYED MEDIA EXPOSURE GAMES WITH UTTER CALLOUSNESS— DELAYING LIFE-SUPPORT TO THE AFFECTED PEOPLE FOR THREE DAYS ……..
  • 5. A CENTRAL GOVERNMENT IN FAILURE. A STATE IN DISTRESS......AND….. If media reports are to be believed, no requisition for aid to civil authorities had been received by the Battalion Commander at Harsil. All the rescue & relief actions of the Armed Forces has been on their own accord & humanitarian considerations. The Government has responded by appointing a former bureaucrat as nodal officer for synergy. If newspaper reports are to be believed, this nodal officer convened a meeting of top officials on June 24, 2013 (Monday) to streamline rescue efforts. Why should the meeting wait till Monday when he was appointed on Friday June 21; a delay of 3 days?
  • 6. When the Constitution becomes the instrument for prolonging the sufferings and sorrow of the citizens or prevents its alleviation, it is being grossly misused. The appointment of the nodal officer bypassing the NDMA raises a larger question of the capability of the established institutions of the Government to handle crisis situations. Why did the Government not consider it appropriate to task the Indian Army to coordinate the efforts to put to optimal use the available resources and instead decided to nominate a bureaucrat as a nodal officer? KEDARNATH SHRINE CIRCA 1882
  • 7. Nationalist Citizens were supporting the Armed Forces. WHILE THE GOVERNMENT WAS CONFUSED In flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, the Nationalists have hit the ground running with 19 trucks of relief material & brought help to thousands of flood- affected people. Working with the Indian Army, they contributed greatly to the rescue & relief initiatives.
  • 8. All said than done, questions related to the Uttarakhand disaster still abound. Uttarakhand is politically as fragile as its mountain ranges. With six different individuals holding the chief minister position during the last 13 years, has resulted in lack of continuity and failure in getting a firm grip on the issues plaguing the state. The political fragility has resulted in ad-hoc, unplanned develop- ment. Successive governments have failed in creating any sort of medium term or long-term plan or vision for the state. Most decisions appear unconnected and lack coherence. They are mostly random in nature & pander to the demand of the moment. Climate change is impacting rainfall and cloud bursts in the Himalayan region which have already seen increase in temperature that are two to three times higher than the average global temperature rise of 0.9 degrees. Against this background, the state has miserably failed to develop any systems of early warning, forecasting and disseminating rainfall and landslide related information.
  • 9. What next? The policy makers can move in either of the two directions: either follow the path that they have taken earlier and re- build Uttarakhand on the poor foundation of unscrupulous and unplanned development. Or take a radical, new path and come up with a innova- tive and inclusive model of development built on the foundation of modern disaster management techniques and equal concern for the environment and livelihoods. It is time the Government & its administration becomes responsive, effectual and accountable. It needs to respect and have faith in its own es- tablished institutions. All this is possible only if we shed this generalist bureaucracy and go in for a professional administration.
  • 10. THANK YOU ! WE SALUTE OUR TROOPS AND SUPPORT THEM TO HELL AND BACK…..