Anil Thakraney: Brouhaha over potholes is silly

29 Jul,2013

By Anil Thakraney


Every monsoon, newspapers go crazy over the issue of potholes, and then the news channels dutifully pick it up. Campaigns get launched, protests happen, municipal officers get interviewed, angry reader letters get printed and then… it’s back to the new year, a new monsoon and new potholes. It’s been no different this year, many newspapers in the metro towns have been raging over these lunar craters.


Complete waste of time, money and most importantly, precious newsprint. What is the point in crying about potholes year after year when nothing changes on the road? And nothing will change because potholes, and we all know this damn well, are babies of corruption. Of course, our engineers know how to build good roads (after all, there are no potholes on roads where the so-called VIPs usually travel), so clearly there is a lot of money being made by a lot of people through the dirty holes. Which is why the media must go after the disease, not the symptom. To give you an example, is attacking boils on the body the method to treating chicken pox?


The entire media effort should be on exposing, and naming and shaming the individuals and groups responsible for this mess. This would mean carrying out investigative stories and sting operations, going after municipal corporators and engineers who’ve earned monies way beyond their known sources of income, publishing large pictures of the culprits, in short, putting the fear of god in the system. And it’s only fear which will result in better roads, because it will help to control corruption. In fact, the word ‘Rain’ should put dread, not romance, into the hearts of the road maintenance authorities, because they will know the media will get cracking.


So then why aren’t the newspapers doing the obvious? Because publishing pictures of potholes with angry captions alongside is easier and cheaper. Well, guys and gals, you know what, I call this lazy journalism. There are people dying on our roads because of the bloody potholes, they aren’t just an irritation anymore. Surely we can do better than screaming and whining.


PS: The Japs have found a brand new medium for advertising. No, it has nothing to do with the digital space, they have gone for flesh and blood. Women in Tokyo now carry ads on their thighs. Superb idea, I say! This is one ‘spot’ that can’t be missed, it promises captive audiences. Welcome to thigh land. Hope desi advertisers are taking note.



Anil Thakraney is a senior journalist and commentator. He is also Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached via Twitter at @anilthakraney


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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Brouhaha over potholes is silly”

  1. rajat Ghosh says:

    How come you are not working on this story and exposing these engg and corporators?
    Why preach when u practice the same armchair laziness?