January 6th, 2017
Tamil Nadu has been in the news since last month for the untimely death of its iconic chief minister Jayalalithaa, a shift in the power equation of the ruling AIADMK party and opposition DMK, and to some extent, cyclone Vardah. However, the fact that the state is reeling under severe drought for months didn’t make the headlines of any mainstream media house.
Farmers in Tamil Nadu had to lose a significant chunk of their crop in summer, and now a weak northeast monsoon is projecting for a perilous situation.
Several reports have suggested that at least 60 farmers have died in the state. While many of them have committed suicide, others have died out of shock.
While the mainstream media was busy catering to the popular topics and shows, a Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalamurai (PTTV) did some groundbreaking job by dedicating an entire day to cover the crisis that has besieged the farmers and agricultural sector of the state.
The channel dedicated their entire broadcast on January 5 to show the farmers’ plight with more than 60 reporters reaching out to 26 districts of the state, including Salem, Villipuram, Nagapattinam, Dindigul and Madurai and others. The rest of the stories and other headlines were shown in between the main bulletin.
While the programmes concentrated on paddy cultivation in the morning, it showed the excruciating state of paddy cultivation in the afternoon.
The hashtag #StandWithFarmers started trending on Twitter and people from across the state voiced their support using the hashtag.
PTTV had been covering the story of the farmers for quite some time now, but the government is yet to declare drought in the state officially.
On Tuesday the Tamil Nadu government under O Panneerselvam said that the state is staring at a “drought”. Senior officials are still assessing the situation, and a report will be sent to the government on January 10. According to meteorological data, the state has received only 168.3mm as against the normal rainfall of 440mm during the northeast monsoon until December 31.
The Logical Indian applauds PTTV for shifting limelight to Tamil Nadu drought which immediately needs to be addressed. News like these often goes unnoticed owing to other big national stories. But PTTV’s persistent reporting on the drought has been able to shift the topic of interest to this news that might have grave outcomes.