For the past few weeks heavy rains in many parts of Tamil Nadu have once again brought hardship to the people causing damages to roads, bridges and inundating many low lying areas claiming 44 lives and damage to property and crops. Most of the state reservoirs are filled to its brim and excess water have resulted in floods.
Chennai, as usual, was one of the worst affected cities during the recent rains. Low lying areas were again submerged in rain water. In some areas sewage water mixing with rain water has become a health hazard to the public. A 24 year old teacher died after she slipped and fell into the drainage. Due to unplanned development and corruption in pubic works, drainage system and water ways have turned into danger zones for the public.
Capitalists only plan their profits- not the needs of the people
It is not the rains that are to blame but the government and state administration that fails the people every year, who more interested in enriching themselves or enacting their political dramas than doing anything productive. Apart from the shoddy preparedness of the government, the other villains in this tragedy are the real estate and the construction mafia in collusion with the government. They have not spared any land including ponds and lakes that have acted as natural reservoirs. With no proper drainage system in place or natural reservoirs anymore, the water has instead started flooding roads and the main city areas, resulting in untold misery.
Even the schemes such as NREGS that are meant for public utility works such as rejuvenation and cleaning up of lakes and ponds have ‘failed’ miserably. Ultimately, it is the uneven development under capitalism that is to blame especially under the current neo liberal model that has pooh poohed pubic utility works and is instead advocating the ‘get quick rich’ model. This unholy alliance of the politicians – government bureaucracy – gangster profiteers have only wrecked havoc on people’s lives and the environment.
According central government statistics, Tamil Nadu & Pondichery received Rs. 6133 Crores in 2010-2011. Chennai is the hub for automotive and electronics sector in south India. While government has gone out of its way to please the industrial and the investor lobby, but is least concerned about the 10 million or more people living in Chennai and its suburb.
According McKinsey’s urban development report in 2010, Indian cities require $ 1 trillion in next 20 years. This amount is required to improve the basic standard of living of the people and public works. But will the Indian ruling class be ready to spend this amount on its people? It is highly unlikely that they would take such a recourse as their priority is only towards their own self enrichment and pleasing the investor lobby.
There is enough for all, if the wasteful system is ended.
Tamil Nadu is a very water deficient state, with frequent war of words with its neighboring states on river sharing issues. But with the amount of annual rainfall that it receives every year, it could very easily meet the water needs of its people through such environmentally friendly technologies such as rain water harvesting and water shed management programmes. This would also require a shift in its agriculture produce and subsidies from the highly water intensive cash crops (which is a environmental hazard) to crops that are locally suited and meeting real the needs of the people.
In this era of capitalist globalization where profit by any means is the watchword and where development means destruction, it would be foolhardy to expect such a system to change ways.
There is an alternative to Capitalism
Capitalism is incapable of solving any of the fundamental problems faced by the humanity, given the greedy and parasitic nature of Indian Capitalist- Landlord class, it is more than a mirage of a possibility. The deforestation and unbridled mis-usage of land and other natural resources for the profit of few, has left India’s environmental standards tottering which is causing such floods and devastation which can be totally avoided if a proper, people’s centric planning is implemented.
It is the model of Capitalist development that is to blame and should be dumped forthwith. The need for a democratic socialist planning of the Industry, Society and the Environment is an urgent necessity.
The New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) rejects the claims of Capitalist influenced, media, scientists and technocrats who propagate the lie that there is no alternative to Capitalist Development Model, which is a monstrous drain and damage to the Nature and fragile eco- system.
Only under a system based on socialist planning under the democratic control of the working people themselves can real development of the people and environmental harmony go hand in hand.
Pasumpon V N
New Socialist Alternative (CWI-Inda), Chennai