Friday, January 20, 2012

Anatomy of a Debacle

In hindsight, everyone is a certified genius. It is quite easy to analyse something gone past, and this post is no different. However, if we don't atleast do that, when will we learn? And when will we prod and wake our slumbering elephant?
The AMRI hospital debacle at Kolkata is no different. A few days ago, 7 of the directors - all pillars of the Kolkata business community - have been put in prison, and the hospital has been sealed. One of the key promoters was the Emami family, which is in the process of investing 300 crores to set up a network of hospitals across the country. No prizes for guessing the status of that proposal now. 
How do you hold people accountable for a tragedy like that? How is putting people in prison a closure for what happened? 
In the movie Aparichitudu (Aparchit in Hindi, Anniyan in Tamil), the protagonist wants to file cases on a bunch of government officials for being negligent, leading to the death of his sister by electrocution. Though the solution may sound crazy, doesn't it have a semblance of logic in it? When Niira Radia started singing, who is who of the Indian Telecom industry fell from their perches and landed up in Tihar. A few of them are still there too. That is hindsight too, isn't it?
The real question of this blog post is about why our people stretch the rope to see how much it can bear before it breaks. Each of us does it, and it is an accepted way of life for us. We keep pulling and using the rope till it finally snaps and we land on our backs. Radia did the same thing, as did Ramalinga Raju, and now the AMRI gang. Reddys in Bellary did the same thing, as did Modi of the IPL. But the strange thing is that there are hundreds of such cases in the works, and they are all out in the public. Why is there no mechanism to act on them before they become full-fledged tragedies?

As in the AMRI hospital, there are thousands of buildings filled with people all over the country, where the fire prevention measures are virtually non-existent. How many movie theatres do we have functioning fire fighting in? Millions of buildings don't even have fire exit plans. The same discussion can be had with every other complaint - provision for parking, backup emergency services, and so on. And we know it too. Most of us reading this post work in a building that works the same way.
There is a wonderful statement that Vijay Mallya made a week ago - he remarked that half the aviation journalists in the country would be out of a job if KingFisher Airlines got out of trouble! Though he made the remark with loads of frustration, there is truth in it. We are fed a staple diet of 24/7 news, and news gets outdated 24 hours later. We don't remember the airplane skidding off the runway in Mangalore, and we don't remember the last train accident. We don't remember 26/11 and the fact that it could happen to us in our nearby train station. That is why bomb detectors are just for display, and additional security personnel are just for VIP movement.
But I don't have a solution for it. Like the first line says, in hindsight, we're all geniuses. 


Ashwini Damani said...

true post !!

Ashwini Damani said...