Friday, 07 May 2021 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun
The second wave of the contagion of Covid-19 in Uttarakhand has already reached unmanageable levels and the experts opine that the state is yet to reach the peak in the number of daily cases. It is a pity that when the administration should have made preparations for tackling the second wave it was busy in organising a ‘divine and grand’ Kumbh in Haridwar. The BJP’s decision to change the chief minister was also mistimed when seen from the perspective of combating the pandemic. The daily numbers of new cases in the state would not appear dramatic when compared with states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh but considering the geographical and demographic factors of the small Himalayan state the situation is alarming to say the least. The creaking health infrastructure of the state is already unable to deal with the high case load of Covid and with the pandemic spreading in the mountainous areas where health facilities are elusive; the situation is destined to worsen to the level of catastrophe. In such a situation the state government is left with no alternative other than enforcing a strict lockdown of a few days to stop the virus which at present is multiplying exponentially and claiming human lives at an alarming pace.
Apparently moved by an unprecedented rush being witnessed in the cremation grounds of the state and reports of shortage of firewood in many crematoria, a benevolent and sensitive government of Uttarakhand has announced that it would provide firewood free of cost for funerals. The minister holding the charge of department of forests has even directed the forest development corporation to provide free firewood at cremation grounds. People of the state reeling under a severe onslaught of pandemic of Covid -19 and getting frightened with the naked dance of death in their neighbourhood should believe the government’s words on firewood supply as the state has enough forest cover to fulfil the need. It is another matter that in a scenario in which the patients gasping for breath are being refused admission in the hospitals, the life saving injections and equipment are being black marketed and administration has failed in tackling the second wave (tsunami) of pandemic effectively one would find some succour in the crematoria which would have plentiful supplies of firewood.
The rain gods finally came to the rescue of the burning forests of Uttarakhand and the downpour doused the forest fires in different parts of the state. The gigantic department of forests with all the resources at its disposal always looks towards the skies for its rescue whenever infernos strike the forest wealth of the state. When the fires were eating into the vast swathes of woods in the wild the half hearted measures of the department were exemplified by the histrionics of the minister when in presence of a camera he used a bunch of twigs to douse a forest fire. With dousing of fires in forests one desperately hopes that some divine power tames the rampaging Coronavirus too which is on a killing spree as the government has failed in containing the contagion.