Uttarkashi tunnel crisis: Red carpet to a rescue?

The VIP treatment unrolled for transport minister Nitin Gadkari's visit to 'supervise' lays bare a rather misplaced focus on appearances and kowtowing to power even in an emergency

Nitin Gadkari's red carpet welcome raises concerns about the government's priorities amid a critical period (Photo: @OfficeOfNG/X)
Nitin Gadkari's red carpet welcome raises concerns about the government's priorities amid a critical period (Photo: @OfficeOfNG/X)

NH Political Bureau

As the nation anxiously follows the harrowing ordeal of 41 men trapped inside the collapsed Char Dham tunnel for nearly 200 hours, the priorities of the Narendra Modi government as well as the BJP-led state government seem to be alarmingly misplaced.

While rescue operations still struggle to even get headway, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari's recent stately welcome—complete with literal red carpets—raises questions about the government's focus during this critical time.

(Photo: ETV)
(Photo: ETV)

Experts believe that Tehri Hydroelectric Development Corporation's decision to initiate "micro tunneling" from the Barkot end is a better strategy, however the efficacy of such measures remains to be seen.

The fact that essential rescue operations are competing for attention with VIP receptions speaks volumes about the government's skewed priorities.

Rail Vikas Nigam Limited's efforts in constructing a vertical pipeline for supplying essential items is indeed a necessary step, but the glaring issue lies in the delayed and seemingly inadequate response to the primary concern at hand – rescuing the trapped workers.

The completion of an approach road to the top of the hill should not be the primary focus, say observers.

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari's assurance that the "biggest priority" is saving the trapped workers and evacuating them contradicts his government’s priority when red carpets are rolled out for him.

No doubt that the optics of such a VIP visit send a disheartening message to the families of those trapped, as it suggests that political appearances take precedence over the urgency of the rescue mission.

While the Modi government may boast about its commitment to development and infrastructure projects, it cannot afford to neglect the immediate and pressing needs of the people during a crisis. The fact that a critical rescue operation is competing for attention with VIP welcomes and red carpets underscores a lack of sensitivity and misplaced priorities at the highest levels of governance.

In times of crisis, the nation looks to its leaders for effective and empathetic responses.

Unfortunately, the focus on political grandstanding over the urgent rescue efforts in the Char Dham tunnel raises serious questions about the Modi government's commitment to the welfare and safety of its citizens.

It is high time for the government to realign its priorities and demonstrate a genuine commitment to the lives at stake in this dire situation.

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