Uttarakhand floods: Narendra Modi and the magic carpet

Narendra Modi went to flood hit Uttarakhand and became an expert disaster management area coordinator overnight. Times of India published an obvious piece of paid media by Anand Soondas talking of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi thumbing the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna in Uttarakhand by flying out 15,000 Gujaratis. And Modi’s supporters seem to think ridiculing this nonsense seems to be a special hate for Hridaysamrat Modi.

DEHRADUN: In the two days that NarendraModi has been in Uttarakhand, he has managed to completely rile not just the Congress government of Vijay Bahuguna but also the administrative staff involved in rescue operations at Kedarnath, Badrinath and Uttarkashi. But above all, he has also managed to bring home some 15,000 stranded Gujarati pilgrims.

Narendra Modi brought home 15,000 Gujarati pilgrims stranded in flood hit Uttarakhand. Never mind that on the previous day there were only over one thousand Gujaratis reported stranded in Uttarakhand. This sets the tone, but the article is a monument in bad mathematics, worse logic, dubious taste and outright falsehoods.

The Gujarat CM, who flew in on Friday evening, held a meeting till 1am with his crack rescue team of five IAS, one IPS, one IFS and two GAS (Gujarat Administrative Service) officers. Two DSPs and five police inspectors were also part of his delegation. They sat again with the nitty-gritty of evacuation in a huddle that a senior BJP leader said lasted till 1am on Sunday.

Almost all states are getting their pilgrims home as is normal after natural disasters. There isn’t a single state that is saying that Uttarakhand will have to keep them now that they spoiled the schedule with the Uttarakhand floods. One has no idea whether there are “crack teams” handling this for other states, or if their normal machinery is competent. As I write this, there are 80,000-87,000 stranded pilgrims evacuated and another 15,000 remaining. In other words, 10 thousand odd people returning from the place daily with or without Hridaysamrat master rescuer Narendra Modi.

Around 80 Toyota Innovas have been requisitioned to ferry Gujaratis to safer places in Dehradun as have four Boeings. On Saturday, 25 luxury buses transported a bunch of grateful people to Delhi. The efforts are being coordinated by two of the senior-most IAS officers of Gujarat, one currently stationed in Delhi and another in Uttarakhand.

80 Toyota Innovas have been requisitioned in that god forsaken place, no indication of them being in operations yet. One has to wonder when exactly are they planning to ferry around Gujaratis in Dehradun, if Modi has already evacuated 15,000 out of the thousand stranded Gujaratis. In other words, leave alone “flying out 15,000 Gujaratis” (about 300 flights if you crammed 500 in each lol. Sleep deprived brain. Make that 15 flights if you crammed 1000 in each. Keeping it simple now.), so far it is looking like one Modi, 5 IAS officers, 1 IPS officer, 1IFS officer and 2 GAS officers collectively got out 25 bus loads of people (1250) to Delhi and 4 Boeings (1760). But nothing that would give credibility to a number like 15,000.

As if that was not enough to thumb his nose at a government accused of large-scale mismanagement in handling the crisis, Modi later in the day even offered to “completely rebuild” the temple at Kedarnath using “the latest technology available” in such a way that no natural calamity would ever shake it again. The Uttarakhand CM is believed to have dismissed the statement.

 Roads and homes need rebuilding on a vast scale after natural disasters. Utilities installed. Freezing winter snowfall approaches in a few months. Gods don’t die. Also, why would one want to completely rebuild something to a new standard when the old one proved sturdy enough that the building he wants to replace was the only one to survive the flood? Hardly surprising that anyone getting nose thumbed in crisis wants to rebuff the thumber. General emotional intelligence. Help offered as disrespect and a flaunting of superiority is rarely welcome.

What cannot be dismissed, though, is Modi’s now trademark style of micro-management, something his supporters say is the need of the hour for India. “It’s amazing what he has done here,” said Anil Baluni, a BJP leader. “If someone doesn’t like it, what can we do?’

This is probably the only truthful line in the whole article. Local BJP seems to be content to call themselves incapable of acting in an emergency without flying in someone from another state for two days. Wonder if they will mention it in their Assembly elections campaign – that they were unable to utilize well a magnificent rescue and evacuation effort by the Army without someone holding their hand through it. And the utter sycophancy of it.

The very idea that one person can walk into the aftermath of a natural disaster and make snap decisions that work better than tested systems already in operation is delusional! The idea that a VIP strutting around in a disaster zone is an asset is a myth!

Here’s a comparison from Gujarat itself – without setting a foot in Uttarakhand. When Alok Kumar Tewari, divisional railway manager for the Ahmedabad division realized Northern Railways would not be able to spare trains to Gujarat, he ordered unused coaches to be spent to Haridwar. Result – 18 coach train 16 general (1600) and 2 sleeper coaches (144) – loads of “extra passengers” crowding potential for emergency evacuation (another 1600?) – that wouldn’t halt anywhere else and thus reach faster. Train left on 20th, reached on 21st, returned immediately to reach on 22nd. Transport Commissioner J P Gupta sent 40 buses (2000) to bring stranded Gujaratis back all the way to Gujarat (not just Delhi).

Neither of them set foot in Uttarakhand for it. The idea that it is desirable to ignore robust systems and write own rules in an emergency – and worse to tout mediocre results for the effort as something heroic is beyond absurd and sycophancy of the highest order. It is disturbing that the guy who promotes tech is superstitious enough to need to be in the vicinity to receive SMSes for help or believes that field reports will not reach Gujarat efficiently without him going to Uttarakhand – not like he went out there amid landslides there either for first hand data. Nor should he – or any other VIP not directly commanding rescue operations on ground (as opposed to arranging transport).

Modi’s men have not only para-dropped a complete medical team in Hardwar, they have also set up camps across th (sic) flood-hit regions. Prominent BJP workers in villages across the state are dealing directly with members of the rescue committee, telling them where food is to be sent, people given shelter and medicines administered. That seems to have helped.

Considering the crapshoot this article is, I’d like to know the competence of this para-jump capable medical team of Modi’s before I comment on it, but I suppose all medical professionals are welcome. I do hope there were at least a few doctors and not just people sent in with first aid boxes after a day’s camp or something, because just a day ago, same newspaper reported the availability with GSDMA of a big box for delivering medicines that can be airlifted without making any mention of this miracle team. Also would be interesting to know how Modi had a “complete medical team” trained to para drop into a disaster zone and how come it has never been appreciated before. For the uninitiated, para dropping into a zone isn’t as simple as getting on a chopper and landing there and one has to wonder why a chopper was not used to send in garden variety doctors.

Also would be interesting to know who these “Modi’s men” are who  are doing these miracle rescues. Last I heard, there were no specific calls for volunteers to run Modi’s ops. RSS has volunteers who were already in place, so Modi is hardly likely to have brought them in at this late date. Unless of course, Modi is being gifted the 6th Battalion of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) based at Gandhinagar that was rushed to Uttarakhand at the same time. Not aware that NDRF would ordinarily report to the CM of one state for rescue ops in another. Or perhaps he took the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) teams – which has a box for transporting medicines which can be airlifted. Though how these could be “Modi’s men” if they serve the state regardless of who gets elected is beyond my comprehension.

When a car owned by a Gujarati was stuck in a road-block by angry residents demanding aid in Badkot, Uttarkashi, an urgent message was immediately sent out by an IAS officer and the vehicle taken to safety. Asked about the “new model” of rescue and relief operation by Modi that has helped 15,000 Gujaratis get out of Uttarakhand, an angry Congress legislator said, “See, that’s what we mean. His model works only for Gujaratis.”

All I can say is I think Gujaratis are lucky that their CM will come all the way from Gujarat to rescue them from angry local survivors of a crisis demanding aid. If this is a good rescue model, then the writer has more than a screw loose.

Note: This article is not about criticizing Modi. Criticizing Modi will not end the political penchant for getting mileage off a crisis and he is by no means the only one to do it. This article is about paid media or absurdly low intellectual capacity of professional journalists in increasing evidence. I detest the stupidification of people to sell agendas. In my views, it is a sabotage of the intellectual capital of the country and thus an attack on my country.

There is a need for news media to stop prostituting themselves for propaganda or cash.

I think such articles are blatant insult to people doing tremendous work saving lives on the ground, keeping robust systems moving efficiently. Countless people combing mountain terrain and debris for survivors, leading people out, flying sorties, treating wounded, gathering bodies, disseminating info, transporting supplies, coordinating information, setting up essential services, communications, funding aid, giving lifts to others, cooperating, surviving, working night and day on limited rest in punishing conditions. Not one of these could do it alone either. This is a movement of humanity restoring itself from tremendous trauma, doing their bit, small steps at a time. Doing their part to their best and doing more as possible. Not one person exiting normal place in sceme of things, inserting at will, taking suo moto limited actions and flaunting them as extraordinary.

And now Rahul Gandhi has gone there. God only knows what rabbit he will pull out of which hat.

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Vidyut

Vidyut is a blogger on socio-political issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms.

16 thoughts on “Uttarakhand floods: Narendra Modi and the magic carpet

  • July 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm
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    Modi never claimed. Anand Soondas attributed story to Anil Baluni BJP Spokesperson in Uttarakhand only on 28th TOI while Rajnath Singh claimed that Modi has never claimed to have saved so many people. Earlier on 23rd when Soondas broke the story he did not named Anil Baluni. Anil Baluni has also denied given these figure he clarified as he is not authorized person to respond on behalf of Gujarat Government, Uttrakhand Government or Army how such question can be put forth to him as such there was no occasion for him to give details. Other day Times of India Aheek Barman was attributing this news to some organization APCO. However Aniil Baluni has served a legal notice to Anand Soondas of Times of India

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  • June 27, 2013 at 10:48 pm
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    This article is bang on! Don’t worry about the attempts at insulting comments. This is a deliberate strategy done by what I believe to be “armies” of people who are employed to spread pro-Modi propaganda. Any web moderator will tell you he is having a tough time from these guys. You find them on all social networking sites and hunt out anti-BJP and anti-Modi articles and spam with comments sections insulting the authors. You’re not the first victim, and won’t be the last 🙂

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  • June 26, 2013 at 2:57 am
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    Did MODIJI told he airlifted 15,000 gujaratis?, Did MODIJI or BJP told he flew with 15,000 gujaratis’s ? Common guys.. stop becoming fools.. congress will destroy you for sure…. dont leave paid media to control your brain.. think guyz.

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    • June 29, 2013 at 11:27 am
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      Modi didn’t, and my article does not claim he did. In fact, it makes special note that this is less about Modi and more about the corruption of media. However, editor who wrote the story has clarified the number 15,000 came from the official spokesman for BJP in the state – Anil Baluni (who is apparently not answering his phone) in the presence of Uttarakhand BJP President Tirath Singh Rawat. If BJP is appointing State Presidents and Spokespeople who are Congress agents, they have bigger worries than my blog post.

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  • June 26, 2013 at 1:04 am
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    To add more credibility to my speculation, the reporter, Anand Soondas, has exhibited his credible position on the Gujarat CM in his articles http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/onefortheroad/entry/modi-marches-shri-ram-smiles and http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/onefortheroad/entry/the-making-of-narendra-modi-unmaking-of-india .. These are just two of many.

    Just FYI, this is the same ‘reporter” who asked a pilot of IAF about how it felt rescuing Hindu pilgrims while himself being a Muslim.

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  • June 26, 2013 at 12:55 am
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    Considering tht only TOI carried the news plus the absolute impossibility (or absurdity or ridiculousness) of the “achievement” or the “claim” and the fact tht there has been absolute silence from Modi’s (and his PR’s) end, I am much more inclined to speculate this to be a paid media for sure, but from the other side. To create a diversion from Rahul’s absence so as to downplay howsoever small the impact of Modi’s visit to the diaster area were to be.

    Given the tricks the political class as well as the paid media continuously play on the public, this cant be far fetched.

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    • June 29, 2013 at 11:29 am
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      Why would the BJP State President and BJP State spokes person use a known pro Modi hack to deflect attention from Rahhul Gandhi? Surely if that was the intent, the article would focus on Rahhul Gandhi’s absense instead of Modi’s absurd.

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  • June 26, 2013 at 12:51 am
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    I understand that you have clearly missed one mass mode of transportation i.e Indian railways….in fact you missed it by a mile as it was mentioned across national media not only in TOI…
    But a good effort to gain instant publicity…..

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  • June 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm
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    Author is right to question veracity of a report made by TOI. it is quite possible it is a PR exercise by Modi team.

    However, while the figures may not be accurate, the same story has been verified by various independent sources. Various articles have mentioned that Modi did spent two days there, and he made arrangements to fly out thousands of people. The other articles also mention that the Boeing aircrafts did multiple trips in evacuation from Dehradoon, and the people were brought to Dehradoon using various vehicles, that made multiple trips too.

    The articles don’t claim he ‘rescued’ the people. It just says he flew them out. And it is entirely possible with four aircrafts working two days for this to be done.

    Now, one can’t blame a politician for a good PR machine! If at all it shows how poor Congress is in thinking up opportunities and responding – By all accounts Uttarakhand & central govt. response has been poor. A friend’s son just reached back Bangalore from badrinath, and had horror stories to tell of pathetic indifference of the govt. agencies there.

    So, bottomline is Modi did something which he thought appropriate, and made sure it found its way to papers. Others either didn’t do anything (most likely) or didn’t have good PR team.

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  • June 25, 2013 at 5:53 pm
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    I suppose for you waiting two days for the trucks with food supply to be flagged off was a good thing. Right after all the Yuvraj of this country was flagging off the trucks with his Italian Mother. I would assume for you that wouldnt be getting political Mileage. Rahul Gandhi going as normal citizen and moving in a plane to get the view of what disaster has happened. I would some people really enjoy the freedom of expression. LOL

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  • June 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm
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    Lol. Got that loud and clear. He didn’t hire 30 planes either ^_^

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  • June 25, 2013 at 4:45 pm
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    I can tolerate the obvious lack of logic that exists in these kind of articles, I can make peace with the terrible tone of these kind of articles, but 300×500=15000… now thats just unforgivable.

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  • June 25, 2013 at 1:22 am
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    In other words, leave alone “flying out 15,000 Gujaratis” (about 300 flights if you crammed 500 in each) …

    You idiot … 300 x 500 = 150,000. You need 30 flights.

    Suggest the authors restrict themselves to simple articles that dont need too much logic or math. For e.g. “Namo is a … Feku … murderer … hitler … mass murderer …” fits right with your level of IQ.

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    • June 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm
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      Cant understand if you are forced to right an article like that or its from your brain…if it is from your brain you ought to visit a mental counsellor…

      Anyways righting bad about big people make you visible…and right bad about them makes you popular..hahaha 500 X 300 = 1500…good one…

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    • June 25, 2013 at 11:41 pm
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      The author has already struck that part off, and has said;”sleep deprived brain”, Jesse James (btw, you a gal or a guy, no offence)

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  • June 24, 2013 at 9:34 pm
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    You are a hatemonger sickular persons.

    Reply

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