A water vessel carrying 1,235 tonnes of coals has sunk in the Sundarbans’ Shela River after its bottom was ruptured.
So? So, this: it piles tragedy on tragedy in a fragile, precious ecosystem. For those interested:
In late 2014, photo-journalist Arati Kumar-Rao had pointed to the unhindered shipping in this protected site, and predicted disaster. In early 2015, she went back to the Sunderbans and filed a series of reports on a disaster that unfolded exactly as she had predicted. Read:
The story of a hazardous clean up, and a stunning cover up.
The story of a UN “study” that saw precisely what it was supposed to see: no evil.
Five months later the government — having learnt nothing from the disaster — decided to let ships ply along the Sela again.
There is much more of Arati Kumar-Rao’s coverage, which received wide international notice at the time, here: (Scroll down to the section titled Estuaries: The Endangered Sunderbans).
Update: 12.30 PM: Shipping along the Sela has been banned again. So the playbook is still in use: Ban as soon as disaster strikes, wait for the fuss to die down, then quietly revoke the ban and carry on as usual.