Saturday, September 25, 2010

Suggestions for Risk Reduction

I traveled a lot into the Sunderbans and in Paschim Medinipur, one of the most backward districts in West Bengal (currently known for notorious attacks by the left wing extremists, known as Maoists). In my travels I found two of the benefits intended to help the poor have not done good. I wish someone takes note of them: a) Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Prime Minister's Rural Roads Scheme). This is supposed to help the backward villages to get connected through a metal road with the nearest State or National Highway, so that they can be linked, and receive benefits of transportation and communication. While working on the Chaulkuri plan in West Medinipur, people said that the contractors do not want to do the road work because carrying cost is so high that they do not benefit in any way. I realized it badly while visiting villages in Sunderbans, where the roads are mostly brick-laid, or just mud roads, although the villages are densely populated. There is a need to review the "per kilometer" cost approved within the scheme. b) My second observation, which I had indeed observed long ago, and I begin to feel the difficulty of the people as I work more and more in the deep villages of the Sunderbans is to revamp the Rural Ambulance Scheme. According to the project, an ambulance jeep is provided to the local primary health center or to a non-profit organization, either from the government directly or through Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), so that the jeep can be used for transportation of persons in serious illness or emergency for medical care. But, the people in Sunderbans are living in islands. There are hardly any roads, and even the brick-laid roads are just about 2 meters wide. Secondly, most islands do not have hospitals! So, how to transport these people? By a jeep? What these people need is high speed good boat ambulances that can take them from one island to another, or to the main land for emergency care and services. May be I should start acquiring one or two and show how it can be used. Any one listening? (I had the experience of driving a speed boat around Tapps island, in WA.... Ha... I saw so many speed boats there. I should steal a few! Ha...ha...ha...)

1 comment:

Ryan M.D. said...

That would be a good idea padre. I think they wouldn't miss them. the getting it to india would be a challenge.
The issues you continue to face seem unfathomable here in the states. I realize more that any help is plenty of help! Blessings to you !