Let?s shout out the rumours, says admn
TUESDAY?S TENSION in trouble-torn areas could have been averted if only the district administration had a mechanism to quell the rumours. For over two hours, the aftershocks of Varanasi blasts had created panic in several parts of the State capital as rumour mills went into overdrive with reports of clashes did the round.india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 00:28 IST
TUESDAY’S TENSION in trouble-torn areas could have been averted if only the district administration had a mechanism to quell the rumours. For over two hours, the aftershocks of Varanasi blasts had created panic in several parts of the State capital as rumour mills went into overdrive with reports of clashes did the round.
But like the proverbial silver lining in the cloud, the crisis has compelled the authorities to mull the problem and suggest steps to effectively tackle any such attempt to vitiate the atmosphere in future. So what exactly have the authorities in mind? Almost all administration officials, who were approached by HT Lucknow Live agreed that there was an urgent need to put in place some sort of a public address system that could be used in such an eventuality.
“Though administration and police vehicles are usually equipped with a loudspeaker for precisely such a purpose, they neither have the reach nor can they match the impact of an effective public address system,” said Additional District Magistrate (Executive) NP Singh. He feels that a beginning could be made in this regard by undertaking the project on an experimental basis in sensitive localities. Agrees ADM (Trans-Gomti) Vinod Kumar Rai. “We had toiled round-the-clock to restore normalcy in the riot-ravaged areas for the past three days. But it took mischief-mongers just 15-minutes to undo all our efforts and vitiate the atmosphere,” said Additional District Magistrate Vinod Rai. “Though heavy deployment of both police and para-military forces in the affected areas ensured that nothing untoward happened, it took a lot of convincing from us to assure residents of Moulviganj, Qaiserbagh and Aminabad that everything was normal,” he added.
According to officials, other than its utility in tense situations, the PAS network could also be put to use in creating awareness about government’s health, educational and other welfare related programmes and schemes. “We don’t even need any additional staff or manpower to monitor the system. The responsibility of running and managing it can easily be handed over to the members of civil defense, who are trained and know how to react in such a situation,” said Rai.
But can we expect prompt action from authorities that woke up only on Wednesday to announce the appointment of three police officers to sensitive posts that had been vacant for months and not filled up even when the city witnessed its worst communal flare-up.