Shivraj Singh Chouhan should get his feet wet and address the issues in MP | analysis | Hindustan Times
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Shivraj Singh Chouhan should get his feet wet and address the issues in MP

Now that the damage has been done by the floods in Madhya Pradesh, it must be ensured that at least the drought relief funds are utilised properly. But past experience shows that much of this money goes literally down the drain with contractors siphoning off large amounts

analysis Updated: Aug 22, 2016 15:26 IST
Lalita Panicker
Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited flood affected Samtana village in Panna district on Sunday. In a flooded area of the district, Chouhan was carried by security personnel above the water level.(Hindustan Times)

The floods in Madhya Pradesh did not creep up on the state overnight. Yet, as is the case with all natural disasters, the authorities wait until there is a full blown crisis before responding. There is a comprehensive disaster management policy in place. But no one seems to be talking about that. In July too, at least 15 people had died in floods in Madhya Pradesh.

Read | Twitterati laugh at Chouhan after securitymen carry him in flood-hit area

The fact that things have come to such a pass now suggests that nothing was done to mitigate the situation even though there was enough evidence that the crisis would worsen. But it was really adding insult to injury to see pictures of the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan being carried through the floodwaters by his aides. The reasons given for this are bizarre to say the least. One was that the ground beneath the water was prone to shifting and another is that there could be snakes in the water. We must assume then that the danger both these posed to the aides were far less than that to the chief minister.

Read | MP: Chouhan faces angry women during tour in rain-hit Rewa

Mr Chouhan obviously did not think he was wrong to have indulged in this extreme form of VIP entitlement. It was his government which released the picture in question. This is of a piece with the thinking of many of our netas that they are somehow in a different and superior class to the people who elect them. Given the warning signs earlier, people in vulnerable areas could have been moved to safer temporary shelters, food and medicines could have been stockpiled and information made available to the public at all times. All these would have lessened the hardship that people are facing. Now that the damage has been done, it must be ensured that at least the drought relief funds are utilised properly. This would include re-laying roads, digging wells and repairing public infrastructure. But past experience shows that much of this money goes literally down the drain with contractors siphoning off large amounts. Mr Chouhan should be addressing these issues instead of refusing to get his feet wet. No one would have complained if he had undertaken an aerial survey of the affected areas. But to show himself being carried around in the manner of an emperor not only damages his reputation but also that of his party.