This year’s monsoon, delayed by a few weeks, has been bountiful, first falsifying the forecast of deficit announced by the Meteorology Department and next causing floods bringing in their wake extensive damage to living spaces of people, roads, standing crops and Railway tracks, not to forget voluminous inflow into the reservoirs filling them with water to their brim. As the rain fury is witnessing a downward feature, Governments both at the Centre and in the States facing the brunt of devastation are being urged to take urgent measures to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure across the country and facilitate the citizens in the affected regions, including many districts of Karnataka, to salvage their belongings and resume normal life. The enormous task required to be expedited speedily is marked by dimension and complexity beyond words. Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force, Army, Navy and Air Force, voluntary organisations and philanthropic citizens are sparing no efforts in restoring stability in society even as the victims of disaster are braving the hardship. All said and done, the cost of meeting the target being in astronomical proportion, one is prompted to say that money matters.
Natural disasters such as witnessed this year, mercifully, happen at intervals of many years. But this year marked by a second consecutive event even before the people of the affected regions could bring themselves back on their feet as it were. Although we read in the dailies about advisory from various circles to the administration for taking advance action before nature strikes, not much seems to have been done to prevent loss of life and infrastructure, particularly in Karnataka.
As if to match the copious flow of water in both the major rivers and streams across the country, including Cauvery, Kapila, Hemavathi and the rest, the one-man Cabinet of Karnataka Government is disbursing, read announcing, money to the affected families for reconstruction of their dwellings. In this context, two issues, familiar to the public, loom large. Firstly, the assurance by the top brass in the State Government that there is no shortage of funds in the Treasury to be spent on relief may not pass public scrutiny. Secondly, money announced for disbursement to the victims reaching the target families is suspect.
In a larger context, while the honchos in the Government are upbeat about the nation’s economic health, the manufacturing sector is experiencing slow down resulting in loss of jobs in worrisome numbers. The Government has mechanisms to deal with financial crunch but for citizens money matters to the point of hurting! When a rupee looks expensive !!