‘SAY ENOUGH’ to VIP Culture! Shillong Fire incident reflects people’s mindset during Emergency situations


SHILLONG, March 24: At a time when fire fighters are trying to prevent the inferno from engulfing the entire petrol pump at Nongrim Hills (till 8pm on Friday), the repercussion was worse – Say hello to Traffic nightmares.

Traffic snarl in the city caused annoyance and discomfort to the drivers, riders and passengers, to which even the traffic personnel couldn't improvise any longer but watch helplessly as the traffic moves at a snail pace.

Interestingly, in the midst of all this 'hungama', VIP vehicles with their red beacons on were only adding to the noise pollution, hoping to find a way out of the congestion, of which they did manage to get out. Why this biasness? But other than angry faces, nothing much was done to oppose this rather unfair privilege enjoyed by these high-end personalities/ public servants. It is not like these so-called ministers have to attend an assembly session at 5 in the afternoon.

ALSO READ: BREAKING>> Meghalaya: Fire breaks out at Petrol Pump in Shillong!

But what's even more disturbing to witness is the mindset of the people when it comes to actually distinguishing between a real emergency and a VIP call on the road.

The inferno required not one or two fire brigades to douse the flame, over 5-7 fire brigades were pushed to the scene but while one or two were busy dousing the flames, the rest were stuck in traffic.

Despite the fact that an alarm was raised about the fire which broke out in a petrol pump, and red beacons on the fire brigades were on, drivers were still adamant in letting these red brigades move ahead. At what cost?

If VIP vehicles could move, why not the fire brigades, which at this point of time are actually attempting to reach the spot at the earliest to help fight the flames?

What's even worse is to witness an ambulance fighting its way out of the jam to reach to the hospital just in time. There is a saying 'Give way to an ambulance first rather than red light because a life is more important than a VIP meeting'.

But that is not always the case.

ALSO WATCH: VIDEO: Petrol Pump fire at Nongrim Hills in Shillong

Funny indeed! But who to blame – the cops, the VIPs, the people, the emergency services, the roads, traffic management, petrol pump (basically for its location in a residential area).

Four things came out from the March 24 Fire incident in Shillong:

  1. How a wrong decision to set up a petrol pump in a residential area could put the lives of many people at risk.
  2. How VIP vehicles became more important than fire emergency vehicles?
  3. How few insensitive drivers refuse to understand the meaning of an emergency situation.
  4. How traffic comes a standstill when unfortunate incidents takes place in the city.

Fortunately, no casualty has been reported but the damage to property was huge though the estimated cost is yet to be ascertained.

Roads clogged, emergency services delayed, undue privileges enjoyed, Shillong have witnessed it all.

Whether we chose to rethink about taking a crash course on road clearances during emergency situation or change our attitude towards VIP culture in state. It is up to the citizens to decide which is best.

Opinion by Ibankyntiew Mawrie

PC: Internet/Representational

(The opinion is solely that of the writer and not of TNT-The Northeast Today)