Shaken and stirred, Kolkata did not experience an earthquake on 4 January 2016. No earthquake was recorded on the two digital seismographs in Alipur Met. Dept. If you were bounced out of your slumber then your first impressions would have been correct that your partner, siblings or children had tossed and turned causing the bed to shudder violently.
For the record, it has to be pointed out here that both the digital seismographs in Alipur were not working (for heaven only knows how long), and the usual explanations/excuses were trotted out: technical/technicians’ delays, this, that or the other reason the machines could not be fixed are supplied to the citizens. Being grateful for small mercies, we are expected to wait indefinitely until all the stops are put in place and we can get information. We are, of course, the ruminating cattle to be ignored, for why do we need information that is the prerogative of those who matter?
The Times of India informed us that ‘monster’ quakes may strike, according to the MHA experts, with a magnitude of 8.2 or greater on the Richter scale. India is divided into four seismic zones. The most active Zone V comprises the whole of north-east, parts of north Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Gujarat and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. According to the experts “the tectonic shift in the recent quakes have re-ruptured the plates that have already developed cracks during recent temblors.”
Shallow earthquakes cause much damage, but deep earthquakes rarely cause damage. Earthquakes occur to 700 km deep. Those that are within 70 km of the surface are considered shallow, while those greater than 300 km are deep (according to the Seismology Research Centre). For every increase of 1 (one) on the Richter scale, the energy released by the quake is 30 times more.
And are we prepared with plans to tackle a disaster of such magnitude? The answer is a resounding NO. There is no Disaster Management Team nor are there any drills to prepare for the worst. “Ram Bharose” would best describe our plight in this terrifying eventuality.
The Pathankot attack: “Curiouser’ now turns to ‘Intriguing’.
Intriguing because of the acrid smell of intrigue surrounding the mystery. Plenty of unanswered questions. Has the combing operation ended? Yes and No according to who informs you. How many terrorists were there? Some said six, whereas Intel alerts specified fifteen. Where are the others? Who knows?
If, indeed, there were just six, how many were in charge of security at the base? More than six should be the answer. Six causing such huge damage and loss of nine or ten lives, does this not remind you of Gabbar Singh’s chilling query to his defeated men, “Woh kitne aadmi the?” (from the movie Sholay).
Superintendent of Police, Salwinder Singh, smirkingly replied to queries with the showstopper, “My only fault is that I am alive.” And right he is. Therein lies his Achilles’ Heel.
Our Defence Minister obligingly informs us, “I can see some gaps but I do not think there is any compromise on security.” Phew! Really? Can he not understand the implication of his statement?
Our Finance Minister informed us that, “Our security forces were completely successful in averting damage to the strategic assets in the Base.” Thank you, Minister. But why was there any damage at all? This statement recalls to mind the remark, “Operation successful but the patient died.”
Sorry, but we, the people, do not accept these explanations. Something more concrete will have to come up to explain the exceedingly grave and far reaching consequence of this huge breach in security. The people of India are not fools, and do not accept these excuses.
Also, can anyone inform the public why sensitive and graphic details, along with maps of the Base are allowed to be published? Why has the media not been told to not look for TRPs, and instead keep the security of the nation in mind? How much more must we endure due to the mindlessness of those in authority?
The plot thickens.