Amidst the relief of the rescue of all trapped workers from the Uttarakhand tunnel, three lessons must be necessarily learnt.
The government must introspect whether rampant “development” can be pursued at the cost of the fragile Himalayas itself; thereby endangering the mountain, environment, ecology, greenery and human lives as well.
Second, the project directors and mandarins should engage in a sincere feasibility study of the terrain before initiating the construction of tunnels or bridges and thereafter adopt maximum safety measures in order of protection of the workers who would be venturing in such risky acts. Also instead of hurrying through the project to meet any political deadline, slow and steady approach must be meticulously undertaken.
Lastly, it must be taken note of how the basic infrastructure of the nation gets set up by unsung common workers through their sincerity tenacity and hard labour in most adverse unfriendly conditions possible. Also we must remember how the final work or the last mile has been achieved/conquered by the “illegal” but valiant rat-hole miners (lowest in hierarchy) by taking utmost risk of their own lives.
So the concerned authorities must ensure alternative income to the rat-hole miners around the nation so that they do not have to venture in the “illegal” assignment just to escape starvation. And the general Indian population must learn to at least award minimum dignity and recognition to the hard working labour community; without whose unfathomable contribution and perspiration, the edifice of the nation will simply not stand. Neither the overhyped filthy rich matinee stars nor the glamourous cricketers, rather the labourers are the real heroes of the nation and society.
Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata