E.R. RAMACHANDRAN asks: Do we have accidents waiting to happen at every turn?
The Thekkady tragedy in Kerala happened and now we learn the boat was not “water worthy”. It had serious “structural defects”. It did not have stability on water as it had a rightward inclination and the fibre used was of poor quality. This is from a postmortem analysis from the shipping technology department of Cochin University.
The question to ask is: who did the tests in the beginning and give the boat (and the boatman) a fitness certificate?
How often were they checked after the FC was given? And by which organisation?
How could unsuspecting tourists, both local and foreign, who had come miles from their homes on a holiday have known that the boat was inherently unsafe as they got into it? Even if the boat was all right, how were they to know that the boatman was well trained for the trip?
Are the boats fitted with life-saving jackets which actually work? Are they trained in saving lives should a disaster were to occur midstream?
What about our Harigolu? When tourists even lean on one side it loses balance. Accidents have taken place in Srirangapatna, Triveni sangama but still they are operating soliciting tourists. If accidents take place, do non-swimmers have any chance? There is no life jacket here.
What about the giant wheels which do business at every yatra, expo, and exhibition. Or the bungee-jumping thrills that are available at various expositions? Who gives them the technical clearance, fitness certificate? Are these checked from time to time when they camp months on end?
Autorickshaws zoom around carrying children bursting at its seams all over India. Who gives the ‘ permits’ or licenses? Is it the local RTO or traffic police? The schools apparently do not share any responsibility in this regard.
Can rickshaws take the load with kids, their books, waterbottles dangling from everywhere. Has this been clarified by rickshaw manufacturer? Most of the kids sit on a wooden strip designed and erected by the driver/ owner.
Chandigarh has banned autorickshaws carrying children from January 2009. When will other States do it? I hope one doesn’t take a view that this will affect drivers’ revenue and accidents do happen and cannot be prevented.
The same is true with maxi cabs on the way to a marriage loaded with villagers double the capacity before meeting a watery grave. Or with lorries and trucks which
School buses driven sometimes, by a cleaner, falls into a lake.
‘Naavirode higa Swami?
‘Are we like this only?’
Does it sum up our attitude all over?