Shocking statistics: wake up, Bescom

After the hot and cruel days of April and May, June is kind and wet, coming down on the waiting world in wind, water and freedom. The monsoon magic is suddenly upon everyone and has changed everything, with sleeping seeds sprouting, and a shouting and happy green overwhelming the bored and silent grey. But the downpour also brings in its trail death and destruction when the sea eats away the coasts, floods take away lives and houses, and the unruly elements unleash themselves on all things. The monsoon takes more lives than the summer and the winter, but many lives lost are not taken away by the rains, but by the wire-crossed, road-linked and drain-cleaved earth. Road authorities, power corporations, civic authorities and other public agencies cause many deaths and injuries and much loss of property with their lapses and negligence and failure to take precautions against mishaps and accidents during the monsoon in villages, towns and cities, including Bengaluru. 

Flooded roads become death traps for motorists as the water suddenly surges to immobilise them. The original sin of bad road designs is compounded by the shallow drains that fail to clear the water. Vehicles get damaged, and death by drowning is the unwritten sign on the road. Uncovered manholes and gaps in the drain covers have taken unsuspecting children and even adults to faraway lakes and the worlds down under, never to return. Many tragedies hang by a slender wire in the air above. Several deaths and mishaps have been reported since the arrival of rains, with people falling on live wires or wires falling on them. Open fuse boxes and uninsulated live wires are common sights in Bengaluru and elsewhere. Falling trees snap wires which hang dangerously from poles and buildings. Bescom says it has the best safeguards. But the statistics suggest otherwise: some 200 people get electrocuted due to dangling wires every year in Bengaluru; some 364 people have died by electrocution in the last five years, 11 of them this April alone. Bescom should raise its vigil; people themselves must be on their guard, too. Blaming Bescom and public authorities for death, disabilities or other inconveniences may not ultimately be very useful and rewarding. 

The romance of the monsoon is here. It is poetry written in water and sustains life, but often turns into the harsh prose of death and the stuff of tragedy. The two faces of the rain are known for ages, but the best human efforts should be to let life prevail and flourish.

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Shocking statistics: wake up, Bescom

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