“We Shall Overcome And Flourish Again” — Aziz Qureshi
The Governor of Uttarakhand, Aziz Qureshi, in a talk with Uday India, informed that while detailed scientific study of the ecology is already in progress, the pending proposal for a government shuttle service for the region, to reduce private vehicular traffic, was also likely to be taken up soon. Qureshi said that he had been asserting on the importance of conserving the fragile ecology of not just Uttarakhand but of all hill states and that there was a great need for a people’s movement to safegurd against such calamities
“There is no need to despair or lose hope, after nature’s fury subsides we will resurrect, will re-build from debris again, of course this time with better technical knowhow and more scientifically,” says Uttarakhand Governor, Aziz Qureshi. In Lucknow, to attend a private function, Qureshi shared his deep anguish with Uday India on
the Himalayan tsumani, which has played havoc on Uttarakhand last month.
Qureshi said that in the 1952 flood fury of Assam, the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had termed it “kudrat ki badtameezi”, and that is what it was in Uttarakhand. He said nobody could fight with nature. Of course, he reiterated that we must respect nature and ensure that we do not come in conflict it.
The Governor informed that while detailed scientific study of the ecology was already in progress, the pending proposal for a government shuttle service for the region, to reduce private vehicular traffic was also likely to be taken up soon. Qureshi said that he had been asserting on the importance of conserving the fragile ecology of not just Uttarakhand but of all hill states and that there was a need for a people’s movement to safeguard against such calamities. Hailing from Bhopal, the state that suffered the Union Carbide gas leak disaster but was resurrected, Queshi’s words sound wise.
Qureshi was in Nainital attending an annual sports function when the disaster had struck. His 94-year-old ailing mother was also with him. The news completely overwhelmed him and he wanted to rush back to Dehradun, but it was neither possible nor advisable under the circumstances. He did not want to create any problem for special bandobast for the adminsitration. He had stayed put in Nainital for the next five days overseeing and monitoring everything, issuing directions, ensuring speedy help for the struck pilgrims and tourists.
“In such a crisis, when nature is unruly and angry, we humans have to display an extraordinary calmness and acumen in order to fight it and reduce its impact,” said Qureshi with wisdom of 73 years writ large on his face.
Qureshi reiterated that though there were warnings, they were not specific. Refuting that the administration was caught napping, he said that what could humans do when struck by natural calamity of this magnitude. Instead of getting into the blame game, he said it was important to take lessons from what happened to ensure that this was not repeated in the future.
The impact of the tragedy must not be wasted on negative, and positive thoughts should be taken into consideration. Qureshi said we must dwell more on the preventive aspects of dealing with the natural calamity. The vital thing was to focus more on the scientific study of the theory of ecological balance, said the Governor, adding that pre-planning was certainly a vital aspect of fighting with the natural calamity.
All praise for the Indian Army and Air Force personnel, who risked their lives, and ensured that lakhs reached home to their loved ones, Qureshi said that yet again it had been proved without doubt that we had one of the best soldiers, who have proved their mettle not only in times of war but also during peace.
“I, like every Indian, salute the dedication, courage and commitment of these brave men who strived hard to extend a helping hand to all those in need,” said Qureshi, conveying his deepest condolences to the families of the bravehearts, who died in this mission. “These men were taking a plane load of material for the cremation of those whose bodies lay in the disaster-struck terrain, and their plane crashed before they could reach the dead. My heart goes out to the families of these soldiers,” said Qureshi. To the families of these uniformed men, he said that it was for brave men like these for whom the phrase “not dead until forgotten” was coined and thus they could be said to be dead but that they would live on forever in the memory of the nation, and that of the families they saved without any hesitation and without any desire for a reward.
Calling himself the guardian of the common man, Qureshi recalled his visit by road to Badrinath soon after he had taken the oath of office as Uttarakhand Governor on May 15, 2012. He said he was mesmerised by sheer tranquility and serenity of the place. Everything looked so calm, soothing and spiritual. Of course even then he had felt that better planning was needed in order to ensure a balance between human and nature. Encroachments and haphazardous construction did disturb the eye. There was no synchronisation and that was evident to the naked eye.
“It was appalling to learn that there were just 100 toilets for 20,000 pilgrims, who visited the temple everyday. A Rs-6 crore proposal for eco-friendly toilets was mooted immediately after my return. But this proposal is still in process,” said Qureshi. Having donated his one-month salary to the kitty for development, Qureshi said that it was not just the money but concern and care that were required on the part of all those who visited hills.
He was also very critical of the mushrooming shops in Rambada. “The place rightfully belonged to the river and 25 years later it claimed its title ship by reclaiming the land and washing away the illegal construction,” said the Governor, adding that a balance was vital between development and nature so that the fragile eco-system was not disturbed.
By Kulsum Mustafa from Lucknow