Apropos Kajal Chatterjee’s letter, “Lessons from Uttarakhand tunnel incident” (NP, December 1, 2023), there are three lessons to be learnt from the Silkyara tunnel episode. First, inadequate investigations prior to the excavation for tunnel should be avoided. The horrifying act of playing with the lives of the workers and with laws of nature must be brought to an end.
Second, the heroic rescue act by rat-hole miners established human supremacy over machines. Our workers deserve more respect from the people in general and more care and security from the government in particular. Students in schools should learn to appreciate the dignity of labour through real stories such as the rescue operation by the rat-hole miners where the skill, endurance, patience and perseverance of labour ultimately made impossible possible.
Third, the hero rat-hole miners showcased the wastage of huge human resources and potentialities in India. Thousands of rat-hole miners, manual scavengers, ragpickers and gig workers could have become great assets of India in various fields had they got necessary opportunities in their lives. It explains why India sits at the back bench (bench number 132nd) of the Human Development Index.
Sujit De, Kolkata