“Tamil” Parties want Dam 999 banned

via K.Vijayan , Chennai published on November 24, 2011

Reports today say that some of the self-styled Tamil Parties have gone berserk over what has been reported about some English movie – Dam 999 – depicting some Dam disaster which is said to have taken place in China in 1975. The protestors find some queer reference or links with Mullaiperiyar Dam which is a bone of contention between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, though only one of the many Riparian Conflicts Tamil Nadu is plagued with.

Actually it should be our Communist Friends who should be demanding a ban since it reflects very poorly on their Mother-Father-China, and brings memories of crass Communist mismanagement in West Bengal when it was ruled by Late Red Czar Jyoti Basu.

We refer particularly to the Khairasole Dam Disaster which took place in the early seventies when over ten thousand died and thousands of acres of arable land was inundated and rendered unfit for agriculture.

The Khairasole Dam Case alone is enough to justify all Tamil Nadu fears about the safety of the Dam and people living anywhere within miles when control is in Red Hands.

We give below an article we had written about the “incident” and we will add that it is a mystery why such things do not get recorded in the Main Stream Media, and why Dam 999 Director (Sohan Roy) could not make a film about our own Experience.

 In Memoriam  …..

The Tsunami that hit Tamil Nadu and all the Action that is taking place reminds us of the Khairasole Dam Disaster which took place in West Bengal over three decades ago.

Whole villages were washed away, over 6000 human beings and countless livestock drowned, and thousands of acres of paddy fields irretrievably lost due to being overlaid with several feet of sand. We do not know if the dam was ever rebuilt, but we have this strong feeling that the Truth should be put down in Black & White, since it has already been forgotten by even the local Bengalis, and it is highly unlikely to find the facts objectively recorded in that Red State’s Archives. It is our forlorn hope that someone somewhere will benefit by the Morals to be found in such lessons of History.

Khairasole was a village with a population of about 3000, situated on the North bank of the Ajay River in Bankura District, West Bengal. Many collieries were located on the southern side of the river, and the steel plant at Durgapur is just a few kilometers downstream. Many of the villagers of Khairasole were employed in the collieries as well as the steel plant and other industries and, by their standards, were very well off.

The Planners planned, the Government sanctioned, the Budgets Provided – and another of the Temples of Modern India in the form of a Dam or Anicut across the Ajay River was started and built with commendable alacrity (for W.Bengal) over a period of five or maybe ten years just upstream of village Khairasole. The Command Area, i.e. the storage space of the dam, comprised several villages upstream which would be submerged. “Provisions” had been made in Budgets for acquiring the land from the villagers, compensation, resettlement locations, etc. Several Officers, staff and Committees comprising upcoming politicians, Peoples’ Representatives, Cadre Workers and the like were appointed, and much of the “Provisions” were used up every year for travel, entertainment and stationery, and comparatively much smaller amounts reached the land-owners, most of whom were “inspired” to hold out for larger and larger amounts. Five years after the dam was completed its full storage capacity could not be utilised since some half a dozen villages still held out for more money, plus a Government job for every displaced person and God knows what else. Every year a lot of the inflows had to be let run to the sea, instead of being properly stored and utilised round the year for power generation, irrigation and all those Objectives.

The State had been experiencing year after year of power crises, nothing unusual you may say, but Someone at the Top felt a bit peeved, and being more powerful than wise, called up the Engineers (who never have any common sense anyway, and are more spineless than bureaucrats, or what we Northies refer to as Babudom, being subject to two masters, the political and the bureaucratic) and told them that nobody but nobody should open the discharge gates of the Dam without an order in writing, in duplicate, from Only Him, the Grand Panjandrum, hereinafter referred to as the GP. The Bureaucrats loved it, since it absolved them of all Responsibility, and it also showed the Engineers what it was like to face up to the Boss Man of the State in the flesh. Nobody said a word about the villages yet to be acquired, since it was assumed that the said villages were the GP’s personal fiefdom, and the Devil knows very well how to take care of its own. A season of scarce rainfall passed uneventfully with engineers and officials slacking off a bit more than usual.

Then the Rains Came, the level in the Dam rose and rose, and water started encroaching upon the rebellious villages. In these parts when it rains it does so non-stop for days on end, and all vehicular traffic comes to a stop. Roads become impassable, power lines and rail tracks get washed off, and large areas are marooned. Even carrier pigeons refuse to fly, or so we are told, and can readily believe. This is the land of chukka-jam, hartal and gherao after all. Telegrams and phone calls were made and letters sent to Various Levels from Various Levels requesting or instructing each other to seek the GP’s advice about opening the flood gates and letting some water down, a situation rather like that of belling the fabled cat by the rats.

Late in the evening of the fateful day, a mob of Revolutionary Villagers entered the Dam Office, did some usual damage to furniture and burnt a couple of broken down trucks and jeeps parked there. Finding none of the Engineers present a posse broke away to call at their residences, only to find that the birds had all fled with their families. Whether they had been there for the many days preceding is another story, since most of the Government Servants, Doctors, College Professors, Heads Of Departments and Competent Authorities in these boondocks go off to visit their relatives and attend to Other Business Interests on prolonged weekends, starting Thursday evening and extending up to Tuesday afternoon, leaving the Offices to be manned by “locals” and menials. We are reliably informed that this condition is not unusual in the Southern States also after the advent of Kazhagam Raj, Linguistic States and Caste Parties. This system, or lack of it, is as popular and sacrosanct, unlike the Holy Cow which can be slaughtered at will, observing the Rules of Halaal, Jutka or other civilized process. The mob then tried their hand at opening the flood-gates with the help of the dam workers, but found that only one or two could be partly opened, and the rest had jammed up due to never having been operated or maintained for years. Some wise men then cut open a trench on the earthen dams on either side, and within minutes the earthen dam collapsed and a column of water about 60 feet tall swept downstream washing away villages, trees, roads, bridges, railtracks and everything else for a few kilometers. Army Engineers stationed at Panagarh reacted very fast and blew up stretches of the highways, thereby giving room for the flood water to spread out and get diverted, thus saving the Durgapur Steel Plant and the Durgapur Thermal Power Station and some other industries located in the Durgapur belt.

Many Leaders later claimed the credit for this timely action, naturally,  even as they pouched vast amounts from public funds which were made freely available in the name of relief and rehabilitation. A couple of our Cadre Friends even approached us exhorting us to file a Claim for a few lakhs, guaranteed. When we said we had not lost anything or been in any way affected they were very much hurt by our attitude. Became “felt” as we Tamils put it.

And of course the GP held undisputed sway over the State for some more half-decades, getting elected with increasing margins every term, perhaps because he did not try to put the blame on ISI or the CIA. Or maybe because of the tendre our Media always had for him.

Donate Liberally.          Give till it Hurts.            Laal salaam!

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