Post Mortem

A stitch in time saves nine

RĂ¼matho Nyusou, Meluri | Publish Date: 8/11/2018 12:26:10 PM IST

 Following an incessant downpour for days on end, and the widespread devastation it has brought across the state, normal life is slowly limping back to its regular course. For some it will take longer than others before normal life is fully back on track. In places like Meluri area, it will take months for roads to be completely functional. It has been about two weeks now since the people of that area last saw the light of electricity. One can image what life would be like in the absence of power for such a long interval. 

Now that situation has comparatively calmed down and things are gradually taking shape, should we just dismiss the idea of fixing responsibility by burying our heads in the sand or should we initiate measures to ensure that we are not caught unprepared again when the next monsoon comes around?  Usually things don’t happen just like that unless people make them happen. What actually had happened this time is not simply an unexpected turn of event. In fact it was long overdue. Taking into account our irresponsible behaviour and lack of civic sense, we might even say that nature has tolerated us longer than it possibly could. It is high time that we learn lesson from our experience. We can’t afford to ignore the alarm bell and go about our business as usual. 
Last week I walked to one of these landslide areas near Meluri town to see for myself. As people stood there wondering how and why such a landslide of that magnitude had taken place in a most unexpected place, I heard several of them explained that a huge snake lodged in the area is the cause of the landslide. I fail to understand why people in this age are still willing to buy such cheap ideas in the wholesale market of ignorance. To say that a snake is the culprit is simply a figment of somebody’s imagination. My initial amusement with their explanation soon turned into frustration. I reasoned with the people around me and said that so long as people continue to trust in a fairy tale that does not hold water, more and more of such problems would come our way. Needless to mention the possibility of a snake causing a landside, the chance of spotting a huge snake in the vicinity is next to impossible. It occurred to my mind that the ancient residue of human mentality of passing the buck and finally blaming the dumb snake for our failure is still alive in the garden of our minds.
Obviously, what else but poor drainage system left unattended for years and random deposit of earth & wastes on the road, among others, is the cause of the problem. And in this case we know who should own up responsibility. Whether one admits it or not, government is squarely to be held responsible for idling away the time and resources while slumbering in the temple of public office. In Nagaland Government is like a lion without teeth and claws. All the illegal activities are carried out right under its nose, and it doesn’t seem to bother the least. 
How about the public?  Trees felled, roots dug out, stones extracted, riverbeds mined, forest burnt, drainage blocked, earth and wastes dumped indiscriminately on roadside – a perfect recipe for a disaster such as the one we have sampled this monsoon. Who indulges in all these environmentally unsafe activities? Of course, we the people! Leaders and followers alike, we are all in the same boat that is slowly but surely sinking. In consequence, we are required to pay the price for our reckless living. Because yesterday we held back a dime to repair the minor wear and tear in its initial stage, today we have no option but to shell out tens of thousands of dollars in our all out effort to begin from scratch all over again. If we overlook the handwriting on the wall, it is just a matter of time before another disaster strikes again and takes us by surprise. 

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