Nature’s fury & man made miseries


The last couple of days have been traumatic; July 25, 2005 saw Mumbai getting 900mm of rain in a day, a hundred year record not just for Mumbai but for the country as whole. Though the city was “submerged” for 24 hours, “Bombay city “never sleeps” spirit got it back to action by 27th evening.

Coupled with the misery was the fire that broke out on 26th at 430pm on the oil drilling platform “Bombay High” that was a high point of India’s oil exploration in seventies and eighties that led to 10 MT oil well off Bombay (160 KM) port. It is a combination of human folly and nature’s fury; the high tides and a vessel passing nearby combined into a disaster. It is remarkable that the fire could be contained and all but 10 of the 300+ lives saved, in spite of near-impossible conditions of ocean waves, fire and night operation. Former Chairman SK Manglik an outstanding engineering manager would enquire into the accident.

Far away from Mumbai the city of Delhi on July 26, 2005 had a man-made misery for 200+ workers of Honda factory. Due to breakdown of trade negotiations there was unrest amongst factory workers; they did misbehave, but the police retaliated far more cruelly and the cameras of the media captured and disseminated it to one and all that it has become a “law and order” problem. The politicians are out to “exploit” for their narrow gains. One hopes that the spirit that saved the ONGC staff would save the Honda workers too.

On 27th July 2005 there is a train accident in Sramjivi Express (Patna Delhi); the details are still awaited. But for the casual way in which successive railway ministers have treated Train Safety, this accident too could have been avoided. Will Railways give safety the focus that it demands? Or keep pursuing the “pet” themes like “Khullad” and “no coco cola”?

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