Mainstream media outlets reported recently that Chennai Railway Division of Indian Railway spends Rs. 22,000 to catch a single rodent. Now those reports have been categorically rejected by the Railway authorities.
CNN News18 stated in a report on the 9th of October, “Faced with rat menace at the railway stations, the Chennai division of Indian Railways spends approximately Rs 22,300 on trapping one rat, an RTI report has revealed. In the past three years, the local railway authorities have spent a whopping amount of Rs 5.89 crore on tackling this menace.”
Amar Ujala, too, published a report making the same claims on the 11th of October, two days after News18 published theirs. This was followed by a Jansatta report making the same erroneous claims on the 9th of October.
The Southern Railways has now issued a statement labelling media reports asserting that over 22,000 rupees were spent on catching one single rat as “unjustified” and “erroneous”.
The authorities also reiterated that rats who consumed the rat poison could die in yards and the station area or “may move to other areas before dying”. Similarly, the authorities stated that glue pads/traps that are put in coaches of trains for rodent control are sometimes carried outside by bigger rats or by those that are partially stuck.
Therefore, these rats die elsewhere as well. Only the ones that are actually stuck are considered as ‘catch’. Thus, the railway authorities state, “correlating number of rats caught to the payment made is unjustified and erroneous” as “exact number of rodents eradicated cannot be stated”.
The railway authorities emphasized in their statement that providing hygienic and clean stations and trains is one of the primary responsibilities of the Indian Railways and the “expenditure incurred on this activity is for providing better facilities to passengers.”
We, at OpIndia.com, have regularly reported on how the mainstream media misrepresents facts to peddle a certain narrative. Misleading reports is not a new phenomenon on the mainstream media. Incompetence has become a feature of their reporting and can no longer be considered a bug.
Indian Railways in particular under the leadership of Minister Piyush Goyal has been a target of media hit-jobs and lies spread by the usual suspects. Recently, the media and Rahul Gandhi had spread lies about the Railway tender won by Reliance Jio. Another lie that was spread was that a hawker was arrested for merely mocking politicians while selling his product in a train, while the truth was that he was arrested for illegal hawking and had a history of such arrests and warnings issued to him.