Government can compensate for anything, Really ?

“One can die even crossing the road, so why fear getting killed by a gun” ? , Chandu tells his mother in the movie “Company”. RGV sure has done his homework. This dialogue from the movie  is so very true. In India, more people die from man made accidents due to sheer negligence than from terrorist attacks or even natural disasters. Whenever such completely avoidable tragic incidents happen, the first announcement that is made by the government is the compensation. Is it that easy to announce compensation ? I often wonder.

What is a Life worth ? To me, it’s a very loaded question. It’s also a very subjective question and a very relative question. In other words, it’s not possible to have a simple answer for that. Or may be I’m wrong. May be the politicians, the committees which look into this, are intelligent enough just by virtue of their positions and are able to better judge what a life is worth and assign a price tag to it.

  • Whats a farmer worth to his family when he is not able to earn a meal a day ?
  • Whats a child worth to his/her parents when he/she is not earning anything ?
  • what is a daughter worth to a family who has been sexually harassed ?
  • what is a mother worth to a family who got killed a freak accident ?
  • what is an old woman worth who is killed in a stampede in the temple ?

No matter what the situation and no matter who the victim is, can there be a compensation ever ? Even if one can employ various means to asses what a life is worth, is that all there is to it ? Compensation, a monetary compensation ! And it’s no secret how great a job the government did even announcing a monetary compensation for the Bhopal Gas Victims. The numbers are simply a joke, not even worth mentioning.

  • What about counseling ?
  • What about rehabilitation ?
  • What about punishing the guilty ?
  • What about taking up responsibility ?
  • What about making sure the incidents are not repeated ?
  • What about giving closure to such incidents ?
  • Isn’t this all part of compensation or Shouldn’t this also be part of compensation ?

If we don’t think of compensation this way, then there is no guarantee that railway accidents don’t happen, no guarantee that a fire accident doesn’t happen in future, no guarantee that children won’t die in the hospitals, no guarantee that pot holes will not be dug up, no guarantee that stampedes won’t repeat itself at temples, cinema halls etc etc etc.

How many  more such disasters have to happen to realize that disaster management ( which also includes prevention ) needs to be given special consideration ?

Anyways, I’ve decided to start out with a simple RTI application to find out the inspection and safety measures of the hospitals and cinema halls in Hyderabad. Hopefully i can build from here.

Director General of State Disaster Response and Fire Services,
Andhra Pradesh

Subject: Seek information on Inspection & safety measures of hospitals/cinema halls under the RTI Act, 2005

Respected Sir/Madam,

Please provide us the below requested information, as per the Right to Information Act 2005. As per the RTI act Section 7(I) and section 2(J)(II), kindly send this at the earliest or within 30 days, through the certified copies at below mentioned address or through electronic mail (____________________________________). In case the information is available in a different office, as per the section 6(3)(ii), kindly transfer my request within 5days.

Please share
1) the number of hospitals/cinema halls in Hyderabad that have the NOC’s
2) the information on the number of hospitals/cinema halls that have been inspected in the year 2011
3) the information on the list of hospitals/cinema halls which did not have the fire safety measures as per the guidelines
4) the list of recommendations provided by the fire department where the hospitals/cinema halls were lacking the safety measures
5) If this information is available online, then please share the details of the same.


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