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Intervention in Uttarakhand could have been earlier: Anubha Bhonsle

Updated: June 21, 2013, 5:19 PM IST
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Intervention in Uttarakhand could have been earlier: Anubha Bhonsle
CNN-IBN's senior editor Anubha Bhonsle joined IBNLive readers on the flood situation in Guptkashi and Kedarnath.

CNN-IBN's senior editor Anubha Bhonsle is the first TV journalist to have reached Kedarnath. She joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the flood situation in Guptkashi and Kedarnath.

Q. Madam, 1st of all, I want to tell you, thank you for the continuous coverage in CNN-IBN. Can you tell me how many people from West Bengal till now in Kedarnath and Badrinath? Asked by: Debargha Das

A. Sir, completely impossible to determine a regionwise breakup. I do have confirmed figures of about 350 tourists stranded in Kedarnath, they are slighltly below the temple complex. They are safe but its a narrow area so evacuation is taking time. Badrinath the situation is still grim.

Q. Whenever there is any major issue/incident/calamity hitting the nation, Congress Yuvraj Rahul Gandhi is either missing from the scene or holidaying. Doesn't this reflect poorly on his leadership qualities and is another big reason for his "falling graph" amongst the youth? Asked by: Shiladitya

A. Shiladitya, its for these public figures, elected MPs to make a call if a tragedy like this one or any other is enough for them to call off their holiday trips.

Q. What has wide scale and rapid development by local population as well as govt to do with this as it appears environment degradation had a big role in this. Asked by: Ravi

A. There has been ecological imbalance in these areas. We simply cannot continue to risk pumping in these areas with tourist inflow, the infrastructure surrounding it. Dams have always been a controversial topic in Uttarakhand but there is no denying the eco balance has been stretched.

Q. Do you feel PM's or Sonia visit has made any difference or was it an photo opportunity for the media as administration is still callous about it. Asked by: Hitesh

A. I don't think it makes any difference. My personal opinion. Wish our VIPs were hands on people, who facilitated co-ordination, took charge and led by example.

Q. What is the exact number stranded people? Asked by: sachin zore

A. Impossible to give a full number of exact stranded. The tragedy isn't a localised one.

Q. When the administration can airlift important personality like Harbhajan so why is it showing indifference to the common people out there? Asked by: Shailesh

A. In my knowledge Harbhajan helped by an army patrol. Which helped others as well.

Q. Is it true that the death toll is more than 1000? If so why are you not telling that? Asked by: Dheeraj

A. I think the death toll is more than the official 250+ figure. One reason we can't say that sir is because we have no dead bodies to go by. Currently they are considered missing till proved otherwise. Its a tragic situation but we can't declare people dead in this situation only underline that toll could be greater.

Q. First, I want to salute you for being 1st TV journalist to reach Kedarnath and also to our indian army @ground zero. So my question is according to you mam how many people are still stranded near Hemkund Sahib? Asked by: Jitender Singh

A. Thanks sir. But I just happen to be the first, am not really patting myself on that as much as being able to report. I do not have a confirmed figure for Hemkund Sahib but I could check and get IBNLive to tweet the same.

Q. Is the announcement of few hundred crores by PM enough to overcome this tragedy as it appears an immature behaviour on part of govt as what is required is strong coordination at local level and state level to overcome this situation with strong support from centre. Asked by: Manav

A. Its a bit of both that's needed, a few thousand crores are needed for immediate relief, evacuation, logistics but more than that I believe planning, co-ordination, a relief effort that brings in max results in shortest possible time. And a time to leave aside differences and adopt a coherent strategy.

Q. What is the situation on the ground in Guptkashi and Kedarnath? Asked by: Anu

A. Guptkashi now has linkages and Airforce sorties that are going on at regular intervals. Its far from normal having suffered extensive damage but is now becoming a nodal point for rescue and relief.

Q. The CM was heckled yesterday by angry local people. In an election year, isn't this incident suicidal for Cong, especially after reports of utter mismanagement and slackness in dealing with the situation? Asked by: S Bose

A. I think the mismanagement will haunt the administration. To link a tragedy to elections, am not sure how to make that deduction. But the gravity of the tragedy apart there is doubt the handling could have been much better, co-ordinated and sensitive. A well-manned help desk for instance is still absent.

Q. Who'll be held accountable for this Turmoil? States were informed of such wrath of nature by forecasting dept? Asked by: Ravi Bhagat

A. An early warning system was the need of the hour. To prevent tragedy you need to be able to forewarn it as well as have systems that help you best cope it.

Q. The Rainfall was much much more in excess of average ones for the area says some one. Is it true that the flood was uncontrollable under the best of proactive preventive measures? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. The rain, cloud burst was nature's fury at its worst. Am not sure what were the preventive measures in place but the delicate ecological balance had been terribly stretched.

Q. Salute to your efforts. Mam do you think the number of army personnel, helicopters, should have been a lot lot more. Consider for one Andhra CM YSR Reddy, 2000 security forces, choppers and Sukhoi jets were deployed. Asked by: Sandeep Vagal

A. Thank you. I think the intervention could have been more and earlier. Ultimately it should be the state administration that should raise the alarm. I think its incorrect that Sukhois went looking for YSR but understanding the underlying sentiment all I'd say is the situation was vastly diff. The army teams on the ground constantly reiterate just more soldiers here will not do. Ultimately it has to be a small, compact, efficient team that will do the job, more numbers makes them a liability too. Second, not all aircraft can land in these areas. The IAF op as I saw is a herculean task, logistically complex keeping in mind terrain, low hanging high voltage wires, fuel supply etc.

Q. Hello Anubha! Hope you are safe. how about the people stuck and stranded there. Last we heard there was no major relief camp set up. Has situation improved? and How can we help from here. Please guide Asked by: Onika

A. Yes, thank you. I am safe. Relief is reaching people. The stranded have access to food packets. Clean drinking water is a big problem, there is the onset of diarrohea and other troubles. This isn't a situation where we will see the relief camps that you imagine...with tents and food being cooked etc.

First Published: June 21, 2013, 5:19 PM IST
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