Headline Jan 24, 2016/ ''' WHAT IS A STUDENT'S LIFE WORTH ? '''



I DISAGREE WITH Chetan Bhagat, when he says that in India, a Student's life is cheaper than a Fish. 

*NO, SIR!  It is worth only a Fig in the whole of the developing world*.

IN PAKISTAN   -I acknowledge with a growing sense of appreciation, that the Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Mohammed Shabaz Sharif, through an executive order :
Has banned all  ''child labour''  working at the brick and kiln factories. 

As a compensatory measure, for the family's loss of income,  the children have been offered a monthly stipend of Rs 1,000/=, free related schooling , free books, free transportation to and from school.

!WOW!   -the World Students Society will watch the execution and forward integration of this order in Punjab, while  it also  begins  researching this subject in all of the- Developing World.

And at the Host, Pakistan, - *terrible suffering and a pall of gloom* surrounds not only the province of KPK, but the whole country, after the attack and the subsequent bloodbath, at the Bacha Khan, University.

52 GAURDS, YES, 52 GUARDS, -and they couldn't ward off 4 to 6 attackers. Zero Patrolling. zero outposts, zero lookouts; Close circuit Cameras not operating, even defective.

Zero security awareness, and all that when the country of Pakistan is in a mortal combat, in state of War since the last complete decade. 

The tragedy was ripe and plum, destined to happen. What more lies in the pipeline, if the Nation continues to turn a blind-eye to the dire needs of this hour?

Great stories of  Student Heroism  have broken through, a terrible fog, that normally surrounds the pre and post attack scenarios. When I gather my own bits and pieces, in the future, !WOW! will publish them as a token of honour, to mark the bleeding hearts.

Memory serves, so let me narrate a real life story: Imagine-  a doting and a loving parent kissing his child good night. He returns to his room to sleep. Poisonous gases, from some uncared  for source, enter the child's room, suffocating him to death. It then kills the entire family.

This,... maybe a gory scene  -and I wish and pray that it never happens. But this is what precisely happened to thousands by thousands families in Bhopal,India, in 1984.

Many factors led to  -and could have prevented- the incident. The location of a poisonous pesticide factory so close to the city, terribly poor maintenance of equipment, cutting corners on safety by management, previous warnings about plant safety, labour issues -

All these have been identified by studies, post the incident.

There are clearly two guilty parties  -the company, Union Carbide that owned the plant and various government authorities that gave approvals for it.

More disturbing was the post-incident handling of affairs by the government. It is reported that the government actually assisted Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide India Limited, in leaving the country. 

The seven other accused were punished after twenty-five years, getting a maximum of two-years' sentences, and were out on bail after paying a bond of Rs 25,000 each.

COMPARE THIS to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

In 2010, sixty-five kilometres away from the US shoreline. The spill started one April due to an explosion on Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling rig leased by BP, one of the world's leading oil exploration companies.

Eleven people died in the explosion and seventeen people were injured. The spill also caused significant damage to marine life and ecology.

The US government spared no effort in bringing BP to book. 

Hundreds of law suits were filed against BP. President Barrack Obama himself made several anger-filled statements about BP's 'recklessness' and 'doing what it takes' to get BP to fix it.

Such was the fear of the  US government's resolve to teach the company a lesson that its shares lost close to $105 billion since the spill. 

BP also created a  $20 billion trust to compensate claims that paid about $8 billion in damages.

BP, on the other hand, had to cut its dividends and has spent billions trying to plug the leak.

That's how you teach big corporations a lesson. 

You make the cost of playing with safety so high that they never even dream of shortcuts. While it is unfortunate that one incident can wipe out a global corporate, there is no other choice.

One big guy punished changes the way thousands of other companies think. I can bet that every oil company thoroughly evaluated its safety procedures after the BP incident.

To protect marine life and related industries, even the  business-friendly US government was ready to   -as a White House spokesman said : 

''Put the boot on BP's neck.''        

Back to Indian Punjab, the kids/students have developed neurological problems and deformities as there is  uranium  in the water due to pollution by nearby plants.

And Bhopal, the mother of many great industrial disasters, serves as an example of how little the developing world values any, any citizen, any student, any life.

*Let there be no doubt on this inference and real conclusion*. That's the real state-of-affairs in the entire Developing World!

All hope is not lost, however. We can still learn our lessons and do a couple of things right. Our laws needed to be amended. But far, far more important and critically:

This generation of students must endeavour to relate to their grave responsibilities. In which the most obvious one is: what they owe to the future generations. 

!WOW!'s success or failure would be a good measure of the veal of every nation. 

Issues dating back 40 to 50 years continue to plague and bleed the developing world nations. Students keep asking me, if this state would ever change: Whose fault is this that they haven't? 

I look upwards to the heavens. I never have all the answers. But then who has all the answers?  Just raise your voice, if not your hand. 

With respectful dedication to the Leaders of the World. See Ya all Your Excellencies on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' The Connection '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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