Jugaad is killing us

Newspaper report in Times of India dated 4th October citing a leaking Ammonia filled tanker that was abandoned in a village near Vadkhal, Pen. It caused severe hardship to citizens & was improperly handled by cops & Chemical Factory Officials

Mechanical failures aren’t exactly a new thing for Indian motorists. The reasons range from lax maintenance standards & ignorance on proper procedures, to sheer indifference towards statutory compliance. We carry on nevertheless. Because, what else can we do. It’s a game of survival out there & we all have got to do what we got to do. Every once in a while though, our short-cut approach to life throws up a rather glaring reminder that we’re problem cutting it a bit to thin.

Take the report on the tanker tanker that suffered an equipment malfunction as seen in the picture accompanying this post. The tanker was carrying a load of ammonia. A gas that causes severe coughing, irritation & breathlessness among those who inhale it. The said tanker developed a leak in one of the valves. The driver transporting the cargo, abandoned the leaking tanker in a village with over 6000 people. 
Law enforcement officials on the scene, had to request a local to drive the stricken tanker to an open area to try & reduce the impact of the leaking gas. They tried to block off the leaking valve with the branch of a tree! When that failed, they called in chemical factory experts, who failed to plug the leak as well. The leaking tanker was then driven back to the filling plant 3.5 kilometres away, by the driver, with only a handkerchief to protect him from the fumes.

  1. The Chemical Factory officials as well as the transport company  – both failed to inspect the tanker & ensure that it was in proper operational condition.
  2. The driver who abandoned the tanker in a densely populated village.
  3. Law enforcement officials who tried plugging the leak with the branch of a tree.
  4. Chemical factory ‘Experts’ who couldn’t control the situation safely at the scene.
  5. The driver who drove the truck back 3.5 kilometres, endangering his own life as well as those living along the route.

Each and every one of them tried to use a short-cut to get around their responsibilities. Maybe they were compelled by their situation or lack of knowledge & preparedness even. Maybe they were just being cocky in thinking ‘Jugaad’ will work. I don’t know, don’t have enough information to take a call on why they did what they did.

What I do know is that their actions not just threatened their life but also those of the ones around them.

Jugaad is killing us & it is time we took notice of it.


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