Amritsar disaster: avoidable tragedy

 

 

Amritsar disaster: avoidable tragedy

Responsibility must be fixed for the Amritsar disaster. Political spats won’t help
The ghastly(ख़ौफ़नाक रूप से/भयानक) Dasara disaster(आपदा) at Amritsar that has left 59 people dead is a harsh(कड़ा/कठोर) reminder(अनुस्मारक), if any were needed, that government departments have not yet taken official protocols(रिपोर्ट/आदिलेख) for safety at mass gatherings(जनसमूह/समारोह) seriously. In the aftermath of the entirely(संपूर्णतया/पूरी तरह) preventable(रोकथाम) carnage(कत्लेआम/नरसंहार), in which spectators(दर्शकों) crowding(भीड़) a railway track to watch burning(दहन/जलाना) of effigies(पुतला) were mowed down by a train, there is a frantic(भयंकर/बेवकूफ ) effort to pin responsibility(ज़िम्मेदारी/जवाबदेही) on agencies and individuals(व्यक्तियों), and, deplorably(बेकार), to exploit(लाभ उठाना/शोषण करना) public anger(सार्वजनिक क्रोध) for political ends. What happened at Joda Phatak in Amritsar points to the basic failure of the district administration and the police, which should have ensured(यह सुनिश्चित किया/सुरक्षित पखना) law and order. If the organisers(आयोजकों) of the event had obtained(प्राप्त) a no-objection certificate from the police, as reports suggest, what role did the law enforcement(अमल/प्रभावशील)machinery play in crowd control? On the other hand, the Municipal Corporation in Amritsar has tried to distance itself, claiming that its permission was not sought, although almost everyone in the city knew it was taking place. The magisterial inquiry ordered by the Punjab government should examine the actions of the revenue(राजस्व) authorities(प्राधिकरण) and the police in organising the event, and whether rules were ignored to favour the organisers who claimed proximity(निकटता) to some politicians.

Major religious festivals in India are often( अक्सर ) overshadowed(छायांकित) by deadly incidents(घटनाओं) such as stampedes(भगदड़) and fires, ranging from the terrible toll of 249 deaths at the Chamunda Devi temple stampede in Jodhpur in 2008, to the railway station stampede during the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad five years later in which 36 people died. The National Disaster(आपदा/विपत्ति) Management Authority has responded to these horrors by creating a guide for State governments and local bodies, laying down a clear protocol to be followed for mass gatherings and festivals. Whether this was followed by the Amritsar authorities in the planning of the Dasara celebrations is one of the questions that must be addressed. There should be a transformation of the way such events are organised, with a lead agency in each State and district empowered(सशक्त) to issue instructions(निर्देश), and in turn be accountable(उत्तरदायी) for public safety. More broadly(विस्तार पूर्वक),, there is a serious deficit (नुकसान)of common spaces in cities, towns and villages to conduct spectacular events safely. This is incongruous(बेमेल/असंगत) in a populous country with a tradition of festivals and cultural gatherings. The Punjab government, wiser after the fact, says it will draw up guidelines for the future. At Amritsar, trespass on the track was the prime reason for the accident. A campaign(अभियान) to educate the public that railway tracks cannot be treated(इलाज किया) as commons, and vigorous(जोरदार/व्यवसायिक) enforcement, will reduce(कम करना/छोटा करना) the probability of such incidents. The Railways must identify hazard(जोखिम/विपत्ति) spots for train movement in heavily built-up areas and prevent trespass(अतिचार/अपराध) by barricading(बाधित) them. A culture of safety can take root if governments imbibe(प्रभावित) it first

 

 

Important Vocabulary

 

1.Ghastly(ख़ौफ़नाक रूप से/भयानक)
Synonyms: appalling, awful, frightening, frightful, ghostly
Antonyms: beautiful, comforting, delightful, good, great

2.Disaster(आपदा)
Synonyms: calamity, catastrophe, collapse, crash, debacle
Antonyms: achievement, advantage, attainment, benefit, blessing

3.Gatherings(जनसमूह/समारोह)
Synonyms: association, caucus, collection, conclave, conference
Antonyms: division, separation, dispersal, individual, loss

4.Spectators(दर्शकों)
Synonyms: bystander, fan, moviegoer, observer, onlooker, sports fan
Antonyms: participant

5.Carnage(कत्लेआम/नरसंहार),
Synonyms: bloodshed, butchery, crime, havoc, killing
Antonyms: peace

6.Entirely(संपूर्णतया/पूरी तरह)
Synonyms: absolutely, alone, altogether, exclusively, fully
Antonyms: inadequately, incompletely, partially, partly

7.Effigies(पुतला)
Synonyms: likeness, puppet, statue, figure, icon
Antonyms: being, entity

8.Exploit(लाभ उठाना/शोषण करना)
Synonyms: accomplishment, adventure, deed, escapade, feat
Antonyms: failure, inaction, idleness, inactivity, loss

9.Frantic(भयंकर/बेवकूफ )
Synonyms: agitated, angry, delirious, distraught, frenetic
Antonyms: balanced, calm, collected, happy, normal

10.Harsh(कड़ा/कठोर)
Synonyms: bitter, bleak, grim, hard, rigid
Antonyms: bland, bright, calm, cheerful, easy

11.Burning(दहन/जलाना)
Synonyms: fiery, flaming, leaming, glowing, hot
Antonyms: cold, cool, dull, apathetic, unexcited

12.Often( अक्सर )
Synonyms: fiery, flaming, gleaming, glowing, hot
Antonyms: cold, cool, dull, apathetic, unexcited

13.Overshadowed(छायांकित)
Synonyms: cloud, dim, dominate, dwarf, eclipse
Antonyms: clear, explain, brighten, fail, lighten

14.Disaster(आपदा/विपत्ति)
Synonyms: calamity, catastrophe, collapse, crash, debacle, defeat
Antonyms: achievement, advantage, attainment, benefit, blessing

15.Stampedes(भगदड़)
Synonyms: panic, charge, chase, crash, dash
Antonyms: retreat, standing

16.Empowered(सशक्त)
Synonyms: allow, entitle, entrust, grant, legitimize
Antonyms: deny, disallow, disapprove, refuse, reject

17.Hazard(जोखिम/विपत्ति)
Synonyms: peril, risk, threat, dynamite, endangerment
Antonyms: safety, assurance, certainty, determination, fact

18.Barricading(बाधित)
Synonyms: barrier, blockade, fence, rampart, roadblock, Antonyms: opening, aid, help

19.Trespass(अतिचार/अपराध
Synonyms: infraction, misdemeanor, breach, contravention, crime
Antonyms: behavior, benefit, blessing, good, good deed

20.Imbibe(प्रभावित)
Synonyms: assimilate, guzzle, ingest, quaff, absorb
Antonyms: abstain, fast

21.Incongruous(बेमेल/असंगत)
Synonyms: bizarre, contradictory, inappropriate, incoherent, incompatible
Antonyms: compatible, congruous, consistent, corresponding, fitting

 

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

Responsibility must be fixed for the Amritsar disaster. Political spats won’t help
The ghastly Dasara disaster at Amritsar that has left 59 people dead is a harsh reminder, if any were needed, that government departments have not yet taken official protocols for safety at mass gatherings seriously. In the aftermath of the entirely preventable carnage, in which spectators crowding a railway track to watch burning of effigies were mowed down by a train, there is a frantic effort to pin responsibility on agencies and individuals, and, deplorably, to exploit public anger for political ends. What happened at Joda Phatak in Amritsar points to the basic failure of the district administration and the police, which should have ensured law and order. If the organisers of the event had obtained a no-objection certificate from the police, as reports suggest, what role did the law enforcement machinery play in crowd control? On the other hand, the Municipal Corporation in Amritsar has tried to distance itself, claiming that its permission was not sought, although almost everyone in the city knew it was taking place. The magisterial inquiry ordered by the Punjab government should examine the actions of the revenue authorities and the police in organising the event, and whether rules were ignored to favour the organisers who claimed proximity to some politicians.

Major religious festivals in India are often overshadowed by deadly incidents such as stampedes and fires, ranging from the terrible toll of 249 deaths at the Chamunda Devi temple stampede in Jodhpur in 2008, to the railway station stampede during the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad five years later in which 36 people died. The National Disaster Management Authority has responded to these horrors by creating a guide for State governments and local bodies, laying down a clear protocol to be followed for mass gatherings and festivals. Whether this was followed by the Amritsar authorities in the planning of the Dasara celebrations is one of the questions that must be addressed. There should be a transformation of the way such events are organised, with a lead agency in each State and district empowered to issue instructions, and in turn be accountable for public safety. More broadly, there is a serious deficit of common spaces in cities, towns and villages to conduct spectacular events safely. This is incongruous in a populous country with a tradition of festivals and cultural gatherings. The Punjab government, wiser after the fact, says it will draw up guidelines for the future. At Amritsar, trespass on the track was the prime reason for the accident. A campaign to educate the public that railway tracks cannot be treated as commons, and vigorous enforcement, will reduce the probability of such incidents. The Railways must identify hazard spots for train movement in heavily built-up areas and prevent trespass by barricading them. A culture of safety can take root if governments imbibe it first

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