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Chopper austerity

india Updated: Oct 13, 2009 22:51 IST
Chopper austerity

Naxals are freely killing out policemen because the latter don’t have helicopters for logistical support. But choppers are freely available to netas to fly over flood-hit areas of the country. A problem of priorities, perhaps?

The VIPs see miles of water that look the same, whether six inches or six feet deep, from the sky. A map could have been marked to show the depth of the waters in different areas, their population densities, accessibilities and proximity to roads, railways and relief camps. But that wouldn’t make for a media dhamaka, would it? In any case, one doubts whether netas can map-read, care to discuss relief plans with the local district magistrate and superintendent of police, and make visits to relief camps. An aerial tour seems to do the trick.

Fiddling while the area drowns — to mix a metaphor — and flying high over the destitute can only make them feel more miserable. A real leader would wade through the slush to a relief camp, check out the living conditions, and eat out of a common pot the way Sam Manekshaw did in such conditions. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘one-night stand’ as “a single performance of a play or show at a particular place”. Rahul Gandhi’s one-night stands have yielded great PR dividends. Strange that his troopers have not stormed the relief camps where huge ‘captive audiences’ (Dalit or non-Dalit) are freely available.

In faraway Afghanistan, the Russians had found that even helicopter-gunships couldn’t help them defeat the highly motivated mujahideen. Our intrepid policemen are fighting the Naxals with jeeps and archaic rifles. When they do SOS for a helicopter to evacuate the wounded, the State takes four hours to respond. By then, of the 40 commandos heroically battling 300 well-armed Naxals, 17 were dead.

I wish our netas bon voyage when they go on their next disaster tour. If they have the heart, they could even lend out their helicopters who could use them for a more desperate purpose.

Jaisri is a Delhi-based writer

The views expressed by the author are personal