The ongoing national emergency following the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases across the country has brought to fore inadequacies in our system, thereby exposing the fault lines, both within the Central as well as State governments. The lack of preparedness to meet the crisis, which was waiting to erupt with full fury, is on account of callous bureaucrats as well as politicians, interested only in consolidating their positions.
The plight of the common man is something that has been overlooked and as things stand today, the country is on the brink of the pandemic claiming more lives than could have ever been anticipated. The daily figures, though empirical data in India is always suspect, have been over two lakh new cases for over a week with the number spiraling to above three lakhs on Thursday morning.
The Prime Minister has held a series of meetings with top officials and it is unlikely that any miracles are going to take place unless people by and large realise that carelessness of any kind could lead to mass human tragedy. The grim situation is reflected by the fact that there are no beds in hospitals and even in cremation grounds there are long queues for the bodies to be cremated.
In Faridabad, on the outskirts of the national capital, cremations were performed in the parking lots since there was no space available. The residents have protested and the victims have not received dignity even after death. What can be more shameful.
Even as the corona cases rise rapidly, our politicians have not stopped blaming each other. The latest war of words is being fought between the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and top BJP leaders. The BJP is accusing Kejriwal of sensationalizing the issue and has blamed him for creating panic over the short supply of oxygen. The oxygen issue has also been raised by other leaders forcing the Supreme Court to take cognizance of this frightfully contagious ailment.
The Centre is perceived to being at fault with the short supply of oxygen as also its failure to anticipate this scarcity. It is evident that the bureaucracy, which is very good at completing its paperwork, was unable to foresee problems which appear to have become difficult to surmount.
For the first time since coming to power in 2014, the Central government is on the defensive and is facing flak from all quarters. Although, the blame has to be shared by the health authorities of various states, the Centre stands exposed for not providing the leadership to the rest despite so many resources being at its command.
The vaccine drive has not proved to be an insulator against this disease and many who were vaccinated, find themselves struggling for their lives. The healthcare apparatus is not adequate to deal with a disaster of such a magnitude.
Migrants have started going home and unlike last year when the extent of the pandemic was not as far reaching as it is now, the surge in corona cases may begin even more rapidly once the rural areas get affected. Therefore, the entire nation has to stand up as one and deal with the extraordinary situation.
There are multiple theories regarding the second surge, the most talked about being how the double mutant has travelled to India through the Middle East, which was impacted in various ways by the Chinese. The dangerous virus crept into this country through Dubai and other places which are the homes of a large Indian diaspora. However, there is no evidence to support this doctrine and hence the counter measures should be taken with full force.
The most important thing in such a crisis is that people and citizens need to be re-assured by credible leaders. This is where the fight is facing its first impediment, with the nation refusing to believe its own representatives who have made promises that were never kept. Obviously, this lack of faith would have an adverse impact on the fight against Covid, where it is essential to get the cooperation of the masses.
The alarming thing is that like the last time, the sagging economy of the country may be affected even more this time. People have lost jobs and means of livelihood, several sectors are gasping for breath and seeking assistance and in many cases, salaries of employees have been further slashed despite the fact that the cost of living has gone up manifold.
The BJP as the leading political party, must first of all restrain many of its ill-informed leaders that they should stop talking about unscientific issues when the nation is reeling under such a grave situation. The only approach that is valid has to have a scientific basis and uneducated sermons should not be spread since they shall help nobody.
There has been an all-round failure and if we have to march forward, we must admit our lapses and try to make the required corrections instead of being brazen about them. The most important thing is that when both in Mumbai and in Delhi, two of the most prominent cities, the steps have been found wanting, there is a cause of genuine fear for other parts. Each state has to ramp up its healthcare system and not concentrate on petty politics all the time.
The demand for national government in some quarters would be unacceptable. People must prepare to combat this pandemic by taking all the precautions. Between us.