India’s Fight  Against COVID

At first we came to know that the war against COVID would be won in 21 days. Thereafter we got ‘enlightened’ of the ‘fact’ that India is a ‘role model’ in face of the world as far as ‘unique’ fight against COVID is concerned. Now with India having the second highest number of COVID infection cases in the world, numbering 54 lakh, and emerging third in sphere of deaths to nip 90,000 lives, we are made to know by Union Health Minister that “irresponsible societal behaviour” of common people is playing the main role behind the spurt in COVID cases. Interestingly, in the same breath, he asks the citizens of that very “irresponsible society” to hail Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership in tackling the pandemic. Does the minister mean to say that the “irresponsible society” needs to be blamed for the blatantly visible failure in preventing infection and deaths; but the Prime Minister is required to be hailed for invisible “success” in “tackling the pandemic”. Or the minister means to say that the “success” of Modi in “tackling the pandemic” lies in the fact that India is yet to emerge numero uno in terms of COVID infection and deaths in the world. And will the Who’s Who of BJP kindly enlighten us by which magic formula or mystery can Mamata Banerjee’s leadership be criticised for West Bengal seeing two lakh infections and 4,000 plus deaths; but Narendra Modi’s leadership be hailed for India seeing over 54 lakh infections and  90,000 deaths. By asking Indians to hail Modi’s leadership in “tackling the pandemic”, what an inhumanitarian         psychological assault has been made upon the families of nearly a lakh who have fallen victim to COVID and what an insult to the sentiments of the families of those hundreds of poorest of poor who have passed away on streets while getting compelled to indulge in ‘long march’ following the instant lockdown. And what an insensitive sprinkling of salt upon the burning wounds of millions who have lost their livelihood in reverberation of double assault of COVID and the related lockdown, many of them getting compelled to commit suicide for failing to ensure food on the plates of own children.


Protection Against Landslides

This is with reference to the news report ‘Boulder crushes woman to death in Vasco’ (NT September 23). Year after year it is heart-rending to read about the tragic accidents, deaths and destruction of property in Goa caused by landslides during monsoon. It is not only the houses that are built at the foot of hillocks that are endangered but also newly built apartments that are  sometimes destroyed despite being protected by retaining walls, which in reality only serve as compound walls. Such collapses are often the result of poor design and construction. Secondly, we often tend to ignore the steep slopes and danger posed by the loosening of rocks and boulders behind the wall due to heavy rains. It is therefore important to cut steps and flatten the rocks to reduce the pressure on the wall and the risk of toppling over. This will also help to reduce the height of the wall.