Let me begin with a confession. I have, personally, done absolutely nothing for the distressed pilgrims or natives of Uttarkhand which was left devastated by nature’s fury just days ago till the moment of writing this post. That I am, at the moment, confined to a wheelchair isn’t the excuse, though. Far more professionally competent personnel, and in numbers that only the government can deploy, particularly from the army, the Indo Tibetan Border Police and the NDRF, are spread out on the ground, working day and night in the rescue & relief operation. The Indian Air Force has deployed the kind of air assets without which the rescue from remote cut-off areas wouldn’t have been possible. In short, this isn’t exactly a scenario to enact a theatre of the absurd.
The relief and rescue mission, it seems, has undergone a dramatic change in its scale and pace with the arrival of Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, in Dehradun on Friday evening, 20 June 2013. I reproduce below, word-for-word excerpts of the report in The Times of India, “Narendra Modi lands in Uttarakhand, flies out with 15,000 Gujaratis,” by one Anand Soondas for TNN.
“But above all, he has also managed to bring home some 15,000 stranded Gujarati pilgrims.
The Gujarat CM, who flew in on Friday evening, held a meeting till 1am with his crack rescue team of five IAS, one IPS, one IFS and two GAS (Gujarat Administrative Service) officers. Two DSPs and five police inspectors were also part of his delegation. They sat again with the nitty-gritty of evacuation in a huddle that a senior BJP leader said lasted till 1am on Sunday.
Around 80 Toyota Innovas have been requisitioned to ferry Gujaratis to safer places in Dehradun as have four Boeings. On Saturday, 25 luxury buses transported a bunch of grateful people to Delhi. The efforts are being coordinated by two of the senior-most IAS officers of Gujarat, one currently stationed in Delhi and another in Uttarakhand.”
“What cannot be dismissed, though, is Modi’s now trademark style of micro-management, something his supporters say is the need of the hour for India. “It’s amazing what he has done here,” said Anil Baluni, a BJP leader. “If someone doesn’t like it, what can we do?’
Modi’s men have not only para-dropped a complete medical team in Hardwar,….”
So, the crux of the story is this:
First, with 80 Toyota Innovas, 25 Luxury Buses and 4 Chartered Boeing Aircarfts, Mr. Modi flew or ferried out 15,000 (Gujarati) pilgrims who were stranded in the Uttarkhand natural disaster in less than 2 days.
Second, Modi’s men had also para-dropped a complete medical team in Hardwar.
Last but not the least, Mr. Modi accomplished all that with his crack team of 5 IAS, 1 IPS, 1 IFS and 2 GAS Officers, assisted by 2 DSPs and 5 police inspectors. (I demand a Supreme Court monitored inquiry against our Central Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Anil Chait as to why did he need so many personnel on the ground when we had Mr. Modi?)
As the only airport in Uttarkhand able to land Boeings would be Jolly Grant at Dehradun, I did take a look at official figures at traffic of rescued pilgrims there. These may not be exhaustive but are still indicative:
On 18 June 2013, 208 people were airlifted by helicopters from affected areas and landed at Jolly Grant in Dehradun.
On 20 June 2013, 245 people were airlifted by helicopters from affected areas and landed at Jolly Grant in Dehradun.
On 21 June 2013, 282 people were airlifted by helicopter from affected areas and landed in Jolly Grant in Dehradun.
On 22 June 2013, 190 people were airlifted by helicopter from affected areas and landed in Jolly Grant in Dehradun.
In all, 925 people were airlifted out of affected areas and landed at Jolly Grant. That should give an indication of what can be achieved by nearly 50 helicopters flying sorties throughout the day from areas like Guptkashi, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gaurikund, Gauchar, Harshil etc
When the IAF landed its new C 130J Hercules Spec. Ops aircrafts at Dharasu advanced landing ground yesterday, the first one took off from there with 113 rescued pilgrims straight to Hindon in Delhi.
Is it even believable that Jolly Grant could handle even 5,000 persons in emergency evacuation even if 4 Boeings were available to do so, considering even the widebodied Boeing 787 Dreamliner can only accommodate a maximum of 381 passengers? (Take the flying time between Ahmedabad and Dehradun, landing and turn-around time for each sortie)
Interestingly, India TV reports that only 134 pilgrims were flown to Ahmedabad from Jolly Grant yesterday by a Boeing 737-700 belonging to Jet Airways which was chartered by the Gujarat government. (The India TV Report)
Again, how many trips can 80 Toyota Innovas make from Dehradun to Delhi from Friday night till yesterday and how many people can this ‘Kafila’ evacuate?
Also, how many people, even if they were packed in like sardines, could 25 luxury buses evacuate from Dehradun to Delhi?
I leave it to the readers to do the math instead of solving crossword puzzles this Sunday afternoon.
I have also, hereby posted the weblink of the Uttarkhand Government on rescue and relief data:
I have a sneaky feeling that 15,000 pilgrims from Gujarat weren’t even stranded in Uttarkhand to be rescued by Mr. Modi.
But that is not all. Mr. Modi’s men had apparently also ‘para-dropped’ an entire medical team into Haridwar. Why on earth would one do that when Haridwar was accessible by road from Jolly Grant just about 25-30 Kms away is beyond my comprehension. Or is it that Mr. Modi’s men have become qualified parachutists and have also acquired a few Lockheed Martin C 130J Hercules as they can’t depend on the IAF any longer? ( I am wondering whether the medical team that para-dropped in, did so wearing rather airy khaki shorts that came to their knees.)
Given how serious the situation in Uttarkhand is, it’s a wonder why Mr. Modi didn’t do a HALO straight on to Kedarnath himself.
Vindicating my opinion, The Times of India today countered its own report published yesterday on Narendra Modi’s claim:
Two days after this blogpost revealed the fraudulent claims regarding Narendra Modi’s rescue and relief efforts in Uttarkhand, The Telegraph, Kolkata goes on to expose the sheer impossibility of the claims.
Abheek Barman reveals mor of Modi’s miracles in The Times of India.
Once the claim “Modi rescued 15,000 from Uttarkhand” was brutally deconstructed and the ridicule began to spread, there were attempts to disown the claim, saying Modi never made any such claims, while his PR machinery still tried to give another spin to the controversy.
One of the most ardent Modi fans in the media, Madhu Kishwar takes pains to explain in a long Economic Times article how Modi’s Disaster Management juggernaut rolled into Uttarkhand:
Madhu Kishwar, however, is surprisingly coy on the numbers.
In conclusion, I have this two reports which will pretty much demolish all the lies being sought to be still spread around by Modi’s ardent fans on social media.
First, Anand Soondas, the TOI reporter who announced that Modi had rescued 15,000 and which BJP and Modi’s spokespersons later vehemently denied ever claiming categorically stated that the figures were given by senior BJP officials who he names:
This just reconfirms what this blogpost has been consistently saying since 23 June 2013 right after those figures were first triumphantly spread around by Modi’s supporter and then, in a 180￮ turn about, vehemently denied.
The other lie that Mr. Modi’s supporters persistently continued claiming was that Mr. Modi magnanimously offered 24 helicopters for rescue to the Uttarkhand government.
Today, Hindustant Times has reported Modi’s Principal Secretary, P.K. Parmar, currently stationed in Dehradun.
There is little left to be said on this whole sordid episode now.