Genre: Current Affairs
The ghastly train collision between Mewad Express and Goa Express near Mathura yesterday once again gave the Indian news channels fodder to go into an overdrive of over-reacting, broadcasting unverified blasphenous theories and in general create an atmosphere of chaos and confusion among the common junta who tends to believe whatever is said in news as the truth.
The background - Yesterday around 04:45am IST, Vasco-Nizamuddin Goa Express rammed into Udaipur-Nizamuddin Mewad Express outside Mathura in Uttar Pradesh resulting in the death of more than 25 passengers and injuring hundreds of others. The reason for the accident is not known but prima facie it looks like the Loco Pilot of Goa Express overshot a red signal resulting in rear-end collision with Mewad Express waiting ahead. As soon as the news about the accident spread, all the "intelligent" news channels were out in the field reporting their own "theories" and "exclusive reports" about the cause of the accident in what seemed like a competition to prove their Stupidity Quotient. Sample this-
So, first we have Times Now with a reporter shouting from the accident site, starting off with "This train..er.. Goa Kranti Express..er.. blah blah" and two minutes later, re-christening the train - "..so here you see Goa Sampark Express.. blah blah" without giving a damn to the goof-up. Goa Sampark Kranti Express is a completely different train from the Goa Express which was involved in the collision. Imagine the plight of relatives of passengers travelling by Goa Sampark Kranti Express who would be getting all worried about the whereabouts of their loved ones after seeing this report when the fact is that the train mentioned by the reporter was thousand kilometeres away from the accident site!
Next comes NDTV's coverage (Click for Video) who went one step ahead and caught hold of an ignorant passenger who, only too eager to be on TV, cooked up an impromptu, absolutely illogical absurd "theory" claiming that the driver was not driving Goa Express properly and kept on changing tracks frequently (as if the train is an auto-rickshaw on a crowded street) resulting in the collision. I do not blame the poor passenger for not knowing that changing tracks is not under the control of the train driver- it is automatically monitored from control towers; but NDTV should have atleast taken the effort to verify if this theory is plausible before broadcasting it on national television.
There were reports that someone pulled the Emergency Chain in Mewad Express causing it to halt on the tracks and Goa Express running right behind had no time to stop and rammed into Mewad Express from behind. But IBN thought this is not juicy enough, so they decided to add a filmy twist to the tale- their version of the accident claims that there was a dreaded dacoit from Kota being transported in Mewad Express who decided to flee from running train. So, the police on board pulled the Emergency Chain to chase the dacoit but he managed to run away! Wow! Let's have a big round of applause!
And then comes the greatest of them all- Aaj Tak! After spending around five minutes shouting in their typical style, begins the "insightful discussion" on the cause of the collision where a reporter shouts at the top of his voice "The biggest question we are asking is...Why were both trains running on the same track? The adjacent track was empty... why did the driver of Goa Express not turn his train to the adjacent track???" What the hell! Even a school kid knows that on double track sections, one track is for Up trains and other is for Down trains. It's not some Delhi road where you can drive in any lane as per your wish!
Enough! Stop it you bloody idiots! It's high time these publicity-hungry channels are taken to task for making a complete mockery of news reporting. My heart goes out to the Loco Pilot of Goa Express and the Guard of Mewad Express who bore the most serious brunt, and to all the passengers who lost their lives in this unfortunate accident.
P.S.: I am still waiting to hear India TV's take on this. If someone finds it, please let me know.
P.P.S. (for railfans only): The damaged loco is GZB WAP-4 #22723