in , ,

Tragedy on the Jhelum: School safety in a culture of apathy

Ziraat Times Editorial Board

The recent boat tragedy in Batwara, Srinagar, where six persons, including children, perished and two children and one adult remain missing, is a stark reminder of how basic safety and wellbeing are being compromised in J&K by a growing culture of complacency. Tp put it in clear words, this wasn’t just an accident; it was a mix of failures – in infrastructure, communication, and disaster management.

Firstly, the incomplete footbridge in the area stands as a 15-year testament to neglect. Its absence forced residents to risk a perilous boat journey on a swollen Jehlum. In an ideal situation, prioritizing such infrastructure completion for both Public Works Department and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), especially the ones critical for safety, should have been non-negotiable.

Secondly, one key aspect of this tragedy that has been overlooked is the functioning of schools in the vicinity of a serious hazard. In areas prone to flooding and other natural hazards, schools in a geographically hazardous state like J&K would traditionally not function and should not function on high risk days. Knowing the dangers of a raging Jhelum, schools should have been closed or at least issued precautionary messages to parents. The larger question that needs to be asked is what prevented schools from having a robust communication system? Is a system even in place for such situations?

Thirdly, the disaster management regime in J&K appears to have fallen short again. Early warnings, critical for mitigating risks, were seemingly absent. This lack of communication and preparedness between different departments – disaster management, education, and local authorities – has seemingly contributed to this tragedy.

The devastated families in Batwara highlight the human cost of these failures. A mother and her two school-going children lost their lives together – a chilling symbol of a society that failed to protect those it should have served.

Looking forward, authorities need to allocate adequate resources to expedite the completion of critical infrastructure projects, like the footbridge at Batwara.

Schools across J&K must develop and implement comprehensive safety protocols for robust early warning systems, like text alerts or Whatsapp messages to inform parents and students of potential risks. Schools also need to build stronger and sustainable relationships with communities, conducting regular awareness campaigns, and informing parents about safety measures. Similarly, Disaster Management units at regional and state levels need to be revamped.

Beyond these immediate actions, we need to address a deeper issue – a culture of apathy towards safety protocols. The tragedy on the Jhelum serves as a stark reminder of the fragile lives entrusted to us. Let us not allow this incident to fade into another statistic. Let it be a catalyst for systemic reform, ensuring that schools become sanctuaries of safety, and children are never again at the mercy of such preventable tragedies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Wildlife Dept deems 90% of ‘leopard sighting’ reports in urban areas in Kashmir as false

Dear young people, it is no doom; just prepare for this jobs transition