During recent years, the country has been plagued with a number of Natural Calamities. First, there was failure of rains for three consecutive years with the result that there was severe drought over large parts of the country, causing untold of hardship and misery to the people. The drought was followed by heavy and torrential rains all over the country and there were devastating floods in a number of rivers. Prompt measures were taken to minimize the misery of the people. There was also the outbreak of Cholera and gastroenteritis in the outlying colonies of Delhi, and the adjacent parts of country. The Prime Minister personally visited these places and issued requisite instructions on the spot.
Even before the floods and epidemics had subsided, Bihar and Nepal were struck by and earthquake of severe intensity. Nearly thousand people were killed in Bihar and Nepal many more were injured and crippled, and thousands of houses were razed to the ground leaving lakhs of people without a roof over their heads. The nation was stunned by this sudden and devastating natural calamity. The state Chief Minister along with a team of his colleagues toured the affected parts to assess the damage and take adequate measures. With his usual promptness, our Prime Minister, with a number of colleagues visited the affected areas the very net days, provided prompt relief and took prompt decisions on the spot.
Army Jawans were immediately pressed into service and relief operations were undertaken on war footing. Teams of doctors, nurses, medicines, food, etc. were rushed to the quake hit areas. Liberal financial assistance to the tune of ninety crores was provided out of the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund in the first instance, and a number of states also extended liberal help to Bihar, reeling under the disastrous calamity that have over-taken it, so suddenly and unexpectedly. Everything possible was done to minimize the hardship of the people.
The earthquake which shattered Bihar and Nepal reminds us of our helplessness in the fact of natural calamities. there is no man-made provision against this particular form of the wrath of nature and the people have to take the shock and the tragedy in their stride. Bihar, which has sufferer not only on account of Nature’s fury but also on account of man’s follies and wickedness, faced one of the worst crises in its history. Not that it had never tasted calamities and crises of colossal dimensions, but this time it faced a Herculean problem of human suffering. Earthquake occur all of a sudden and it is invariably the poor who are the worst hit. When building collapse and the earth splits, where can the ordinary people look to for help ?
The present calamity may not be as colossal a scale as Bihar experienced in 1934, nevertheless the hardship confronting the people should not be underestimated. The districts which faced the brunt of the tragedy are Darbhanga, Madhubanj, Saharsa, Munger and Nalanda, all of them falling in the northern part of the state. The immediate need was to provide medical aid to the injured and other faculties to those who have been rendered homeless.
The Prime Minister’s prompt visit to the earthquake hit region was highly appreciated. Chief Minister and other Ministers who rushed to the earthquake hit districts did ensure that the victims hot timely and adequate aid. But even in normal time the poor and the needy hardly get a fair deal. In a State where the haves keeps the have-nots under control the Government should take extra care to ensure that victims of the earthquake get timely and adequate help. What is meant for them may go into th pockets of dishonest officials. Even politicians do not hesitate to exploit human tragedy for their pretty gains.
That has been the tradition of the State. Unless the Government makes sure that the needy receive all the benefits which the Government makes available of them, rehabilitation measures will remain ineffective. It is hoped that the people of Bihar will not suffer on account of the dis-honesty and greed of those who are at the helm of affairs.