By Brig. VK Atray
New Delhi. 07 January 2019. The new year near fatal disaster due to heavy snow in Sikkim has put forth a very pertinent question-should NDMA just not get disbanded? If it is not able to fulfill the tasks for which it was created then what is the reason to continue spending millions into its existence?
It is a fact that whenever a disaster has taken place in our country, whether natural or man – made, it is the Indian Army which is the first to react. Be it floods in Uttarakhand , glaciers in Kedarnath , landslide in Banihal , law & order situation on the streets of Srinagar or even the rescue of a child from a bore well , name any disaster and the Army is the first organization to respond. And all this despite funds being doled to all the states , capacity building and provision of equipment and task forces the reaction time of the state units of NDMA is far from satisfactory.
A similar situation arose in East Sikkim when 2019 dawned , There was heavy snowfall and the visibility on the roads became very poor . At this time revelers who had gone to Nathu La and Changu Lake (Tsomgo ) were stranded in their vehicles and thought that they would be buried in snow and breathe their last .It was at this time that army troops swung into action – as always – and brought them down from 13 ,000 feet to 9,000 feet. In all 2,800 people were brought to army camp at Mile 17 ,housed , provided sleeping bags , medical care and food .Gradually they were moved to Gangtok. The best part was that while the revelers were comforted ,our jawans slept outside in open at – 9 degee celcius. Hats off to our brave jawans and the Indian Army who trains and develops such traits in them .
All these tasks performed by defence forces are at a cost . Their basic role is to ensure the security of our borders and thus such duties take a toll on their preparedness for war and unintentional negligence of the vigil on our borders. Therefore, one needs to introspect and ensure that various organizations like civil administration, police and organizations like NDMA should shoulder their responsibilities in true sense .If it is found that they are deficient in any aspect to fulfill their role then it should be addressed on war footing. All this is in our national interest and should not be lost sight of.
Hats off to the Indian Army for its humane behavior, courage and bravery.