An Indian citizen’s life is not worth $1820: The Hindu
The Hindu is known for setting high journalistic standards. When it comes to stooping low, The Hindu wins here also. We couldn’t find an adjective to describe this type of reporting and pathological hate for the Indian Government.
South Sudan was going through civil war like situation. Many Indians who are based there made a distress call to Govt of India for help. 450 people, including Dutch, Pakistani & Bangladeshi nationals requested evacuation. Govt of India took a notice of it and launched evacuation operation; Operation Sankat Mochan; which was a great success. Taking a safer side Govt planned a rescue operation for 550 people & two Boeing C-17 Globemaster planes were sent. Everything went picture perfect. India not only rescued Indian citizens but Pakistani, Bangladeshi & Dutch nationals too. After launch of the operation the situation in Juba improved & 300 people, who had earlier requested for evacuation, decided to stay there & as a consequence one of the two planes was reported to return empty. The team to Juba (capital city of South Sudan) was accompanied by Minister of State of External Affairs Gen V. K. Singh.
The operation was carried out in such a timely manner & it was such a success that even the political opponents of the Govt had to applaud it. So far we have seen such evacuation operations only in movies being carried out by ‘super powers’. But times have changed, India is changed. Indians abroad are no more on God’s mercy. In the recent past we have witnessed many such examples.
When everybody found it exemplary, celebrating the huge success and nobody could find a way to criticize the Govt, The Hindu came to the rescue and published a story: “Questions raised on cost of Sudan rescue“. Showing pathetic level of journalism, The Hindu played notoriously with facts and came up with conclusion that the cost of this operation was about $1 million for 550 citizen; which is way too high. Thus according to The Hindu spending $1820 per-head to evacuate people from a war zone is not a viable option.
Human life is priceless. Making”cost benefit analysis” when life of people is on stake is not something we expect from our Government. But using forged data & flawed calculationsThe Hindu tries to prove that $1820 per head is too high & it suggests the Govt, before launching any rescue mission the Govt must do cost benefit analysis:
The result has led some officials to say that a full cost-benefit analysis must be made before any future evacuation operations are planned.
This is not the end of the list. The Hindu further says that the Govt must consider other cheaper viable options and suggests one:
At present, the cost of a one-way ticket from Juba to Delhi, is between $600-$1,000, the airlines offices confirmed.
And in the same article it reports:
At the time, Juba airport was closed, and no commercial options were available.
What do we expect from an ideal minister? He/she is present at ground zero. This is exactly what Gen V. K. Singh did. But beyond our imagination, The Hindu perceives it as “Since the minister had to accompany the rescue team, it means the officials are ‘kaamchor’ & the system isn’t working.”
Now coming to the cost analysis made by The Hindu, where it claims that operation cost of C-17 Globemaster is $24,000 per flying hour, which is much higher than that of Lockheed C-130 ($14,000, The Hindu didn’t mention this figure). Neither the manufacturers nor the DoD declare the per hour operating cost of these planes, though we found this data sheet, which is claimed to be from US Air Force comptroller’s office. At first 24,000 looks higher than 14,000 but lets look at some other facts too:
Lockheed Martin C-130:
Capacity: 92 passengers
Cruise Speed: 643 Km/h
Range: 3334 Km
Capacity: 134 troops
Cruise Speed: 830 Km/h
Range: 10,390 Km
No of people to be rescued: 450
Distance between Kochi & Juba: 4950 Km
So obviously the per hour operation cost of C-130 is lower, but using it in this mission would have cost much more as more number of planes, more number of flight hours and mid-air refueling would have been required. But when it’s about agenda who cares about facts!