Even after 20 years it is still fresh in the memory when catastrophe had hit Odisha in the shape of Super Cyclone leaving a trail of devastation spread over 14 districts. There were certain scars in many areas still green.
The disaster was so vast, with a wider ramification that for over a week the incident hogged the lime lights in the electronics and print media. A beeline of representatives from almost all Indian news channels and abroad camped in Odisha giving a wide coverage to the plight of people. It was a sight which could unnerve even cruellest among the cruel as untold number of human and animal corpse were strewn all over the areas like Erasama (eye of the storm), Padampur, Dahubar, Naghori, Paradeep, Kujang and so on.
But, this time in 2019, although the magnitude of the Fani may not be as apocalyptic as Super Cyclone, but the devastating aftermath can’t be measured in lesser scales of any natural fury of recent times. But, what surprises all that, the tragedy of such a perilous nature has failed to find the importance that it deserves.
Human tragedy sometimes, perhaps, fail to ring in the ears of the channels who sometimes are driven by a parochial consideration. Just days before the ‘Fani’ hit Odisha coast, one could see a sizable number of teams from Delhi-based channels swarming before the residence of the chief minister for his sound-bytes on the elections’ outcome, thus creating a ground for a spicy electoral politics. Which is a shocking level of intolerance while, the same media houses chose to buy the narratives on politics or trivial taste at an extra premium.
What appears to be one of the most basic reason behind the issues in Odisha not making themselves into the national level, is the complete absence of the regional offices of the national channels and who merely depend on news agencies those are severely fraught with lack of insight. One or two sound-bytes with a few cutaways of the incident makes up for all.
A building collapse or a fire incident in any metro city send the national media run out their skins for live coverage but, a tragedy of Fani’s magnitude fails to shake the conscience of channel editors who otherwise claim themselves to be the icons of intellect.
There must be untold numbers of people in India and abroad glued to the television sets to know about their relatives in Odisha but, now, what is paramount for the national media is, perhaps, the elections.