Friday, 1 April 2016

Kolkata Flyover Collapse: “An Act Of God”?

While the whole of India had one thing to cheer for yesterday since morning- the India vs West Indies Semi Final match, Kolkata experienced a massive disaster! A flyover in the making since 2009 collapsed during lunch hours in the heart of Kolkata on a busy street. The mishap killed more than twenty people and injured several others who were trapped inside the debris for hours and were finally rescued by the disaster management force and the Indian army.

Naturally the mishap is a grave concern not only for Kolkata or West Bengal but to the entire nation. A flyover, that has remained incomplete since 2009, comes crashing down on people at the heart of the city, trapping cars and killing people, and all we can do is wait and watch the sad clippings in the news. No wonder, the disaster management force and the Army, as usual, did a commendable job working overnight to rescue the trapped people while the entire nation enjoyed a terrifying semi-final cricket match on the TV.

But, the real question that lays here is, who is to blame for the loss of so many lives and property? All the people who lost their lives to the mishap or were severely injured by it and are fighting for their lives in hospitals were innocent people like you and me, who were out on the roads probably to buy stuff, get to work or simply enjoying a short walk after lunch. Unfortunately, they were struck by ill fate and had to lose their lives! And who is responsible for this loss? Well, no one takes the accountability, of course!

When asked about the mishap, the builders of the flyover quoted the accident as an ‘act of God’. Oh, I couldn’t be more surprised over that explanation! It is like, I make a cup of coffee, accidentally put salt instead of sugar, and then blame God for it! If the builders or the company who supplied material for the flyover’s construction doesn’t take accountability for the accident, who should? It could not be termed as a natural disaster, of course, for it was not an earthquake, a flood or cyclone. It was an accident, a mishap that has obviously occurred due to discrepancies in its work and a hole somewhere in the system.

When Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee was asked about the mishap, she very cleverly and easily blamed the previous Left government for giving permission to construct the flyover that was reportedly being built in a residential area. So, dear Ms. Banerjee, if that was the case, why couldn’t any action be taken against it once your government came into existence in the state? The flyover has been reportedly lying unfinished since 2009 and Mamta Banerjee’s government came into power in 2011. Why was no attention given to the incomplete flyover then that stood unfinished in a crowded area in the heart of the city? Why were everyone’s eyes closed on it through all these years?

No one wants to take responsibility for the serious mishap and people are attempting a blame game. Of course, that’s not something uncommon in India! We have always seen politicians playing that dirty blame game, keeping at stack the life of common people like you and me. This one is just another instance! Nor do the builders want to take accountability for the accident because it was an ‘act of God’. And what happens to the families of people who lost their loved ones in the mishap? Who will compensate the people who lost their cars or any other valued possession in the tragedy?

All questions remain unanswered as always. The only thing we can do is pray for the safety and recovery of the ones injured, sympathize with the families of the ones who lost their lives and dwell in cities with the constant fear of losing our lives to an ‘accident’ or an ‘act of God’!

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