Panic, panic!

The scenes I witnessed in Delhi today made it look like there was a war on or something. There were km long queues at petrol stations and even the lucky ones who got close to the pump had to contend with hoards of people carrying plastic bottles and cans. Yes, there is a strike on by oil companies (I am no longer interested in knowing why), but it's not like the world has come to an end. No one is interested in putting an end to the world's petrol supply or burning up the remaining oil fields!

But if you saw the scene at petrol pumps today, I was afraid we would have nationwide riots. And I strongly believe that our media is responsible for this. As is collective human nature, panic spreads quickly when you don't have complete information. So, instead of reassuring people to take it easy at least for a day or two, our Indian news channels were on a war footing...creating even more panic among people, who were hoarding petrol like it's going out of fashion.

Instead of just hyping the shortage, what they could have done was spoken to the authorities, found out what the situation is (and why the strike is happening in the first place!) and tried to make things look reasonable. Strikes like this happen in a democracy like India and we have to live with it. Just to add a note, there is also a truckers strike happening, due to which vegetables prices are touching the sky, and I am sure people have started hoarding them too...

Anyhow, it's the duty of the government to take the support of media to control crisis situations such as these. Why is it that, forget about even making a national announcement, our PM doesn't even issue a press release?!! It's a pity, really. Hate to say this, but even the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008 knew how to use our media better.

Update: As if on cue, the Indian government has taken stringent steps to tackle the crisis, and even published print ads to prove the point. See Ad 1, Ad 2.
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