Safety in public places mustn’t be a lost cause

Source: The post is based on an article Safety in public places mustn’t be a lost cause” published in Live Mint on 2nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster Management

Relevance: reasons behind disasters in India

News: Over a hundred people lost their lives in the Morbi bridge collapse in Gujarat. This has raised concerns over the failure of governance.

What is the incident?

It is century old bridge that was reopened after seven months of repair without getting a safety clearance. The tourist visited there and they were more than the capacity of the bridge which made the bridge to collapse.

The incident has led the arrest of the people involved in maintaining the bridge and controlling the crowd.

However, such incidents are not new to India. There have been multiple such incidents in the past but the culprits have not been punished.

What are the problems with such disaster in India?

There is serious issue of proper governance and accountability in India.

The authorities in India take actions after the incident have caused and people responsible for such incidents are not even punished.

For example, the death of businessman Cyrus Mistry raised the issue of rear seat belts but the faulty highway design which was mostly the cause of accident did not led authorities to act against the main culprit.

Therefore, there is little accountability in India for such incidents and people responsible are rarely punished.

Further. urban governance in India is poorer as it includes corruption and ineffective implementation of the policies. Politicians often join hands with builders to deliver sub-optimal infrastructure.

What can be the course of action?

India requires some efforts to improve its current inability in ensuring proper accountability.

Some jurists have called for “accountability jurisprudence” so that those responsible (the state, followed by private contractors) are pushed to enforce basic safety norms.

There must be a systemic will to implement laws and carelessness should be removed.

Further, there is need to spread awareness regarding the responsibility a citizen has because it is not only the state that lacks, sometimes the irresponsible citizens can also endanger the life of others.

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