On January 14, 2019 several media portals carried a report saying that a large number of trees have been cut to make space for temporary helipad for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was scheduled to visit Odisha. The reports quoted staggering numbers, grabbing eyeballs. The Indian Express wrote Modi’s Odisha visit: Hundreds of trees felled to make space for PM’s helipad. The Hindu headline wrote PM’s upcoming visit to Odisha: Over 1,000 trees felled. As the phrase “hundreds of trees” changed to “over 1000 trees”, many other media platforms too picked up the this ‘reported’ incident. Scroll headline read: 1,000 trees felled ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Odisha.
But, the Bhubaneshwar edition of Times of India dug deep into the issue and presented the version of Railways spokesperson. After conducting the enquiry into the issue, the Railways official said, as reported by the TOI Bhubaneshwar, cutting of 1,000 trees is far from the truth. The Railways officials, even, produced the video of the helipad location dated January 7, which is prior to the making of the helipad. It shows that there were no big trees in the first place. View this TOI Bhubaneshwar tweet which has an attached video, and compare it with the ‘representative image’ the Scroll carried along with its story. This particular case represents how the negative news spreads.
According to the Railways only shrubs and saplings, that too in the numbers ranging to 40, have been cut. About 6 trees have been pruned. Here are the tweets from TOI Bhubaneshwar.
So, all the available information shows that the ‘cutting of 1000 trees’ is more of someone’s figment of imagination than the reality.