Mega event to road side jamboree : Unpreparedness of it all
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: December 02 2011 -

The spot where the bomb exploded in front of the venue of the Sangai festival and a sequence of photos showing the injured cart driver in a daze before being picked up by the police to be taken to the hospital :: November 30 2011
The spot where the bomb exploded in front of the venue of the Sangai festival and a sequence of photos showing the injured cart driver in a daze before being picked up by the police to be taken to the hospital :: November 30 2011
Pix : TSE

It was touted the annual calendar 'mega event of the Government of Manipur' with the catchline 'Manipur-The Last Best Place.' Mega it maybe but in preparedness it is anything but mega and Lilliputian is perhaps the more suitable term.

For close to 30 minutes or so, Md Kora the cart driver lay stunned with both his legs blown off and was obviously conscious enough to answer some questions from the cops who were nearby.

No para-medics were in sight, no ambulance, no nothing. That the mangled body of the cart driver was packed off on a 407 Mini-truck after a few crucial minutes had elapsed sums up the story of the unpreparedness of the State Government in going ahead with a 'mega-event.'

The unpreparedness is scary. It is unacceptable.

And the Government is answerable to the people. Even as the torn and mutilated lower torso of the cart driver reflected the impact of the blast and demonstrated the level to which some elements can go to unleash terror amongst the civilians, the pictures also testified the utter lack of professionalism on the part of the festival organisers.

A perfect script to turn the idea of a mega event to a roadside jamboree, and to think that the Sangai festival is being touted as the event to showcase the tourism potential of the State to the outside world.

A shame. A reflection of a place where no one is answerable and where anything goes.

Forget about the question of how the cart driver managed to make his way after side stepping more than one security cordon but a look at the crucial 10/15 minutes after the blast is enough indication that nothing was in place to meet any emergency situation.

It was only after some precious time had passed that the cops got their bearings and approached the dazed man on the street. That no para-medics and no ambulance rushed in exposes the utter lack of professionalism on the part of the people concerned.

A sham of an arrangement for an event tom tommed as the selling point of Manipur and the sense of tragedy pricks all that more.

The response of the Chief Minister to the tragedy that unfolded not too far away from his official residence perhaps sums up of the total disconnect between the Government and the ground reality.

Here was an incident in which the State machineries were caught with their pants down and instead of addressing these points, the honourable Chief Minister whipped out the AFSPA card.

How did AFSPA come into the picture ?

Does it mean that without this military Act the law enforcing agencies cannot foil an attempt to trigger a blast in a public place ?

Or does this mean that without this Act, necessary arrangements to meet emergency situations cannot be put in place ?

Or was the Chief Minister reading out from a script prepared by the Defence Ministry ?

Or was it a case of playing up to Delhi in the backdrop of the scheduled visit of the Prime Minister and the UPA Chairperson on December 3 ?

Or was he trying to justify the extension of the Disturbed Area Act, a decision which was taken just a day before the blast ?

Either way it sucks and does not give any indication that the Government has picked up some valuable points from the tragic incident. A post mortem is in line.

Why were no para-medics personnel available or if they were available why did none of them turn up ? What happened to the ambulance ?

That the task of providing an ambulance and para-medics in case of any emergency was given to a private health care institution is understood but why were there no arrangements for a back up, which the November 30 incident clearly demanded ?

Any Government worth its salt should get down to the business of serious introspection and retrospection but in the process it should also take extra care that it does not launch a witch hunt.

Preventing all terror attacks may be too tall an order to follow, this is a given, but the absence of preparedness has made sure that the catchline of the festival has been turned on its head to go from Last Best Place to First Worst Place.

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