Welcome to the Land of Easy Deaths and Cheap Lives

This is India. Human lives are regularly and often lost due to state negligence. Media reports it for two days (that’s the exact span). Posts are shared on social media, Government ‘expresses grief’ and that’s that. I researched a couple of cases in which people, even infants, had died due to someone’s (read a government’s servant’s, or contractor’s) negligence. I found a very disturbing pattern emerging out of what happens after that.

A. Children died atAdani Foundation-run G K General hospital in Kutch:

“As per the data shared by hospital on May 25, out of a total of 777 infants, born in the hospital as well as those admitted from outside, between January 1 and May 20 this year, 111 could not survive, a mortality rate of 14 per cent”.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/adani-run-hospital-111-infants-dead-in-five-months-probe-ordered-5192237/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/health-dept-orders-probe-into-infant-death-at-gaims-in-bhuj/articleshow/64324543.cms

When a panel submitted its report this month, no lapses were found in the hospital infrastructure or administration:

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/probe-panel-finds-no-lapses-in-infant-deaths-in-adani-run-hospital-118052901668_1.html

B. “290 children died at BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur in August 2017, of which 213 died in the neo natal ICU and 77 in the encephalitis ward”.

https://www.news18.com/news/india/gorakhpur-hospital-tragedy-boy-bleeds-through-nose-father-told-its-just-kachra-1490665.html

https://www.firstpost.com/india/gorakhpur-hospital-tragedy-live-60-children-died-in-5-days-up-govt-faces-flak-from-opposition-3921401.html

Just one person was held responsible for those deaths, was jailed and was later released on bail (his family claims he was a scapegoat):

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-uttar-pradeshs-gorakhpur-dr-kafeel-khans-brother-kashif-jameel-shot-at-1865430

No concrete action taken till now. 

C. Varanasi Flyover Collapse, 15 May 2018.

https://www.ndtv.com/cities/varanasi-bridge-collapse-investigating-team-submits-report-suggesting-reasons-behind-the-structure-c-1865988

“Movement of heavy traffic, coupled with what amounts to negligence, led to the collapse of a part of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi last month, which cost 15 lives in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency”.

What’s being done?

D. Tuticorin, May 2018

“The police had to take action under unavoidable circumstances to protect public life and property as the protesters resorted to repeated violence… police had to control the violence”

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/dmk-s-stalin-accuses-police-of-atrocities-against-anti-sterlite-protesters-in-tuticorin/story-zk9wbYIrrHSpM7yN4bz2AK.html

E. On 31 March 2016 a steel span from the Vivekananda Flyover fell down.

The website of the Outlookindia puts the number of the dead at “about fourteen” common men (and women?). Ten officials of IVRCL were booked under the section 302 of IPC and sent to jail. Later section 302 was converted into section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

Two years, and nearly two months from the day of collapse, the IIT Kharagpur committee investigating the incident has not submitted its report.

No action taken. No one punished.

F. On 9 September 2007 in Hyderabad, two persons (anybody remembers their names?) lost their lives because of another collapsed flyover. Case under section 304A, and many other sections was filed against Gammon India Limited.

Eight persons were arrested after the detailed report of the technical committee in 2008. They were acquitted in 2016 as there was no evidence against them.

No action taken. No one punished. 

Our judiciary is overburdened and our legislature works more for the uplift of its members than for the nation. Therefore, the responsibility, no, duty, of protecting democracy, constitution and the nation falls on WE THE PEOPLE.

As citizens with voting rights in India, it’s our duty to perform the role of not mere observers but participants in doing right, good and just things only, and in ensuring that others do the same.

How will we do that?  

How many of us will do that?

 

Advertisements

Varanasi Flyover Collapse, 15 May 2018: One Month Later  

Nearly a month ago 15 persons had officially died in Varanasi. Normally, in a country like India that has a population over one billion up to hundred deaths due to the negligence or active agency of state organizations and forces does not remain news after a couple of days. I had hoped that as those deaths had happened in a very special place, our PM Mr. Modi’s constituency, quick and decisive action would be taken against those responsible.

It was with that hope that I followed the developments in the Varanasi Flyover Collapse of 15 May 2018 regularly.

To follow its presence in the public sphere, I contacted my friends there for any news, googled the string “Varanasi Flyover Collapse, 15 May 2018” every day for pieces of even one paragraph and searched on you tube for clippings of even 15 seconds. The news simply disappeared from the national print media within two days. It was followed up only in the newspapers from or for Varanasi, that too for less than a fortnight then it vanished from there. It was nowhere on electronic media just after a week from the accident.

The day the flyover had collapsed the images and videos, with blood and gore, were circulated widely on whatsapp, twitter and facebook. No, the persons sharing them and the persons typing their ‘heart-felt’ comments on them were not doing it for their innate sense of justice. They were doing it because they did not want to miss anything from the spectacle of death, and wanted to leave their mark on it too, something vandals do upon our national monuments all over the country. Just three days passed and the Varanasi Flyover Collapse disappeared from the social media without leaving any trace. The worst part was that even groups from Varanasi did not have even one post or image or line on those deaths.

Yesterday following my routine searches with relevant keywords, I stumbled upon two entries, one on CNBC News and one on NDTV. I thank them for the update. I am quoting the highlights from the reports on two websites. Their links are:

https://cnbcnews.in/news/187239/report-by-investigating-team-reveals-why-varanasi-bridge-collapsed

https://www.ndtv.com/cities/varanasi-bridge-collapse-investigating-team-submits-report-suggesting-reasons-behind-the-structure-c-1865988

“Movement of heavy traffic, coupled with what amounts to negligence, led to the collapse of a part of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi last month, which cost 15 lives in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.

This was because cross beams that were meant to lock the girders had not been put in place, a team of technical experts investigating the matter found. This, they said in their report, weakened the structure and left it exposed to traffic vibrations and wind force”.

“’There is strong possibility that they (girders) registered some tremblings… the traverse displacement of the girders caused by external forces of movement of traffic and recent storms kept accumulating and they collapsed,’ read the report, accessed by news agency Presss Trust of India. The report was submitted to Principal Secretary, PWD, Sanjay Agarwal, today in absence of Mr Maurya, who is admitted to a Delhi hospital”.

“Varanasi Senior Superintendent of Police RK Bhardwaj said an inspection of the construction site about two months ago showed that the builders were not following safety measures like putting up proper barricades and laying out a service lane”.

“Mr Mittal — who was removed from his post during the term of the Akhilesh Yadav government following complaints and reinstated when the BJP came to power — had denied the charges. He continues remain the chairman of the UP Rajya Nirman Nigam, another high-profile state government organization”.

 

Varanasi Flyover Collapse, 15 May 2018, 05:40 PM – After a Fortnight

15 May 2018 + 14 days = 29 May 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK1yq6Do_TI

Reports that up to 50 persons were crushed to death including 1 Roadways bus, 1 minibus, 4 cars, 2 autos and bikes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP2mNRu7Wcc

Reports that more than 50 persons died.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucZnk7eQjXI

Shows clearly the number of cars, few with people inside.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpIrBtW1Uwo

Witness Mr. Umesh says that more than 100 persons must have died. They were setting the beams as it fell.

 

The list of casualties:

Name                                                                          Address

 

Mr. Rambahadur Singh                                           Chhapra

Mr. Kumar Vaibhav son of Rambahadur             Chhapra

Mr. Khushhaal Ram                                                 Sahedi, Ghazipur

Mr. Sanjay son of Mr. Khushhaal Ram                 Sahedi, Ghazipur

Mr. Shivbachan Ram s/o Mr. Khushhaal Ram     Sahedi, Ghazipur

Mr. Virendra Yadav                                                     Latwa, Ghazipur

Mr. Bhavaani [Singh] (NDRF)                                   [Aligarh, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgdnEC5X6o4%5D

Mr. Ram Milan Chauhan                                        Mau

Ms. Vidya Devi                                                          Bandarpur, Khuthan, Jaunpur

Mr. Ram Chandra s/o Ms. Vidya    Devi             Bandarpur, Khuthan, Jaunpur

Mr. Arun Verma                                                       Bandarpur, Khuthan, Jaunpur

Mr. Raghunath                                                         Jaunpur

3 unidentified persons                                            Unknown

Ashwani’s father                                                       [Basti, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge7pEB76RH8]

 

 “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered proceedings for strict penal action against former Managing Director of UP Bridge Corporation Rajan Mittal and six others” (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-flyover-collapse-adidyanath-orders-action-against-7-officials/article23923178.ece).

The persons involved were:

S No Name Designation
1 Mr Rajiv Mittal MD, UP Bridge Corporation
2 Mr. H. C. Tewari Chief Project Manager
3 Mr. K. R. Sudan Project Manager
4 Mr. Rajesh Singh Assistant Engineer
5 Mr. Lal Chand Engineer
6 Mr. Rajesh Pal Additional Project Manager
7 Mr. Genda Lal The former Project Manager

 

The CM had constituted an enquiry committee that submitted its report on Thursday, 17 May 2018, at night.

Today, even fourteen days after that tragedy, no concrete information regarding action to be taken against the persons responsible has been shared with the people. Media of all kind did not report the aftermath or follow up at national level. Only local newspapers give space to its follow up and even that space is getting reduced every day.

I had posted a fortnight ago that such is the fate of all grave tragedies and their reports in India where even 100 deaths mean nothing. They can’t even bring the sitting MP to his constituency to offer his condolences. The pattern is being repeated in Varanasi. I can see this case and all investigation reports being prepared for a permanent burial.

At my level I will keep following it up.

Letter to our MP: Varanasi Flyover Collapse

pmo comp

Dear Sir,

This note is both a complaint and an expression of wonder from a very ordinary person from Varanasi that is your Lok Sabha constituency. It’s related to the Flyover Collapse on 15 May 2018. In the beginning, i.e. on 15 and 16 May, I had expected that our MP would be there in our hour of need. Then I realized that you were busy trying to lead your party to a majority in a very important state in southern India.

I hoped you’d come after the things settled down there. They did, in a way, but you did not visit Varanasi. I checked it at http://www.pmindia.gov.in and you are not on any official domestic or international visit either.

I know that the constitution lays down no duties or responsibilities for the Members of Indian Parliament, but I’m sure that you intend to come here soon. After all, humanity is greater than any constitution, and I think that I don’t need to remind you that it’s your duty as a human functionary to stand with those who voted you to your present position so that you could do something for them and for the nation. Meeting them to express your heartfelt grief at their misfortune beats all the tweets that could be made from a thousand miles away. Please do come and visit your constituency.

Thanks

Yours truly

Rajnish Mishra

Varanasi Flyover Collapse: Who is Responsible?

cm-report.jpeg

The Chief Minster had constituted a state level committee for investigating the Varanasi Flyover collapse of 15 May 2018. He had ordered the committee to table its report within forty-eight hours. The three member committee of APC Mr. Raj Pratap Singh, the Chief Engineer of Irrigation Department Mr. Bhupendra Sharma, and MD Jal Nigam Mr. Rajesh Mittal did just that. Although the full report was not made public, its highlight were:

The drawing of the bridge was not approved. There were no tie beams between columns. There was no record of the batch mix plant, i.e. the proportion of cement, sand and grit. The construction area was not barricaded. The checklist of concrete was not present at the site.

vf bearing

The Varanasi Edition of Hindustan had printed a report about what happened at around 5:15 PM on 15 May 2018. According to its unnamed “sources”, while the bearing under a beam was being removed, it was imbalanced and fell down. It hung mid-air for a moment and then fell upon the vehicles below. The Supervisor and the labourers fleed the scene immediately. No P.W.D. officer or Bridge Corporation officer was found around the spot just after the incident.

If the report, or the newspaper, or the “sources” can be believed, and as I am an Indian, I don’t find the reported actions of all the responsible or involved functionaries at all strange, then they were the real and immediate criminals. The officers to whom they reported were criminals in extension. Both the kind of criminals ought to be punished. Will the court of law take this reported incident into consideration?

Varanasi Flyover Collapse: The Case of the Missing Persons

missing khaleel

  1. There’s a house at Alaipura, Varanasi where a family is still waiting for an elderly gentleman. After waiting through the evening of 15 May 2018, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim went looking for his elder brother Mr. Khaleel at around the midnight. He went to all the hospitals of Varanasi but his brother was nowhere to be found. He then went to the exact location where the section of that flyover had fallen and searched frantically for his brother. When people asked him about it he told them that his brother had gone to visit a shrine at Baulia on the afternoon of 15 May 2018. He was returning home at around five twenty in the evening when the a section of the flyover collapsed. As his brother was neither in the list of deceased, nor among the injured he decided to keep searching until he found him.   

missing-qwid-fil.jpeg

2. Mr. Rajesh of Nakkhighat had gone to buy a car and had taken his father-in-law Mr. Bhaironath along. The incident happened while they were returning home. Mr. Bhaironath and the Driver were missing till the time the report was printed.  

The Second Question from Varanasi

Varanasi has the “honour” of being the Lok Sabha constituency of our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. The MP from Varanasi tweeted about the flyover collapse from a faraway place:

“Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. I pray that the injured recover soon. Spoke to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected”. 

Then he tweeted:

“The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected”.

(https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/under-construction-flyover-collapses-in-varanasi-atleast-12-dead/articleshow/64177996.cms)

That was and is all he could manage to do as he was very busy leading the nation to a brighter tomorrow. Remember Karnataka? After all he is a Prime Minister first, and only then is he a Member of Parliament. And the number fifteen does not carry a lot of weight for a man who is the elected leader of nearly 140000000.

Logic apart, I googled “duties of a PM” and “duties of an MP” and found out two interesting things.

The first one was that among so many roles and responsibilities of a PM, his constituency that voted for him is mentioned not even once.

I have copied the second interesting fact directly from (http://www.elections.in/political-corner/roles-of-councillors-mlas-and-mps-in-india/):

No Defined Responsibilities of MPs and MLAs

There is no denying the fact that the duties and responsibilities of MPs and MLAs are not defined in the Constitution. According to the Lok Sabha secretariat, there is no such provision even in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha that defines duties and responsibilities of members of Parliament or through which the accountability can be fixed on non-performing MPs. Even the state Assemblies admit that there is no rule through which the non-performing MLAs can be pulled up.

 

Therefore, the constitution does not have anything to direct Mr. Modi’s feet towards Varanasi. We, the people of Varanasi, cannot. I only hope his conscience does. Although over a week has passed since then, and the Karnataka episode is over too, he shows no sign of planning to reach his constituency.

The second question from Varanasi is:

When will our MP come to visit us?

The First Question from Varanasi

Seven days have passed since the flyover collapse in Varanasi on 15 May 2018. “Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced a three-member committee to probe into the accident and give its report within 48 hours” (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/under-construction-flyover-collapses-in-varanasi-atleast-12-dead/articleshow/64177996.cms).  

Although it was stated nowhere whether those 48 hours began at 5:40 PM on 15 May 2018 or at some later time, I take it as starting on 16 May 2018 morning, say at 10 AM. Even a conservative calculation puts the end of that period at 10 AM on 18 May 2018.

The report was submitted on 17 May 2018, Thursday, at night.

“Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered proceedings for strict penal action against former Managing Director of UP Bridge Corporation Rajan Mittal and six others” (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-flyover-collapse-adidyanath-orders-action-against-7-officials/article23923178.ece).

The persons involved are:

S No Name Designation
1 Mr Rajiv Mittal MD, UP Bridge Corporation
2 Mr. H. C. Tewari Chief Project Manager
3 Mr. K. R. Sudan Project Manager
4 Mr. Rajesh Singh Assistant Engineer
5 Mr. Lal Chand Engineer
6 Mr. Rajesh Pal Additional Project Manager
7 Mr. Genda Lal The former Project Manager

Five days have passed since the report was submitted to the CM of Uttar Pradesh. His office has not shared any information with media or people. The family and friends of the fifteen deceased have a right to know what is in that report.

The first question from Varanasi is:

Do the CM and his office intend to share it in near, or even distant, future with us?

 

Identifying the Unidentified Dead Persons in Varanasi Flyover Collapse, 15 May 2018

In the official list of the deceased in the Varanasi Flyover Incident of 15 May there were 7 out of 15 persons that were not identified with name and address. Their list is given below:

Name                                                                                   Address

Mr. Rambahadur Singh                                                Unknown

Mr. Kumar Vaibhav son of Rambahadur                Unknown

Mr. Bhavaani (NDRF)                                                     Unknown

Driver of Bolero UP 61Y 2294                                       Unknown

3 unidentified persons                                                 Unknown

 

I posted the information at facebook with an appeal for justice to the deceased. Their relatives and acquaintances from Varanasi identified some of them.

Mr. Dhiraj Yadav, Mr. Virendra Yadav’s nephew, informed me through facebook that the person identified as only “the Bolero driver” was Mr. Virendra Yadav, from Latwa, Ghazipur. He was the only earning member of his nuclear family and has little children at home. He with Mr. Sanjay whose name is mentioned in the list. 

Mr. Pushpraj Singh, Mr. Ram Bahadur’s neighbour, informed me that Mr. Ram Bahadur Singh and his son Mr. Vaibhav were from Chhapra, Bihar. They used to live at Kanchanpur, Varanasi. Mr. Rambahadur’s wife and daughter left for Chhapra after cremating half of their family in the City of Light, where their loved ones were sent to an untimely death due to someone else’s negligence and criminally corrupt practices.

I still don’t have the address and family details of Mr. Bhavaani of NDRF and I have no information on the three unidentified deceased persons at the end of the list. I am not very hopeful about the government’s finding and sharing their details with us. I can only request the readers out their to help. 

Varanasi Flyover: Tragic Deaths

mritak-soochi.jpegIn a previous post on the tragic Varanasi flyover mishap that happened at around 5:30 pm on 15 May 2018, I had mentioned that the national newspapers did not cover the event after 16 May. I had also mentioned that the names of those who died that day was published nowhere. I have an additional information on that. At local level the names of fifteen out of eighteen who had died was printed in Hinduatan, the Hindi daily. I am sharing them here.

S. No. Name Address
1 Mr. Rambahadur Singh Unknown
2 Mr. Kumar Vaibhav son of Rambahadur Unknown
3 Mr. Khushhaal Ram Sahedi, Ghazipur
4 Mr. Sanjay son of Mr. Khushhaal Ram Sahedi, Ghazipur
5 Mr. Shivbachan son of Mr. Khushhaal Ram Sahedi, Ghazipur
6 Mr. Bhavaani (NDRF) Unknown
7 Mr. Ram Milan Chauhan Mau
8 Ms. Vidya Devi Bandarpur, Khuthan, Jaunpur
9 Mr. Ram Chandra s/o Ms. Vidya Devi Bandarpur, Khuthan, Jaunpur
10 Mr. Arun Verma Bandarpur, Khuthan, Jaunpur
11 Mr. Raghunath Jaunpur
12 Driver of Bolero UP 61Y 2294 Unknown
13 3 unidentified persons Unknown