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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) of Odisha, Pradeep Jena has penned a heartfelt condolence letter for Odisha's best disaster reporting scribe, Arindam Das who lost his life in the line of duty while covering an elephant rescue operation at Mundali barrage in Mahanadi river in Cuttack on Friday.

Jena is well known as the go-to man of the Odisha government in spearheading the State’s disaster response and mitigation efforts since years. And it was an established fact in the State’s disaster reporting circles that Arindam would risk everything to report crisis from ground zero. His gusty reporting from Chilika and the landfall site of Cyclone Fani is still fresh in the memories of viewers across the State.

Jena termed Arindam a ‘Daring Journalist’ who would go to any length to feed his viewers with closest and the best view of a news. A thorough grade journalist, Arindam loved to serve his viewers with nothing less than the best when it comes to reporting events, occurrences, issues and challenges that are so dear to the masses, Jena wrote.

“Arindam, we miss you. Never had I ever imagined that Arindam, the electronic media representative- a thorough grade journalist who love to serve his viewers with nothing less than the best when it comes to reporting events and occurrences and issues and challenges that are so dear to the masses, would leave all of us, along with a sweet little child and a family behind so early in life,” he said.

“I have seen him growing up as a young journalist to a thoroughbred professional with passion and commitment to gather every tiny details as they stand to report to his viewers,” he said.

Describing the late journalist’s character and personality, Jena said, “Many of us like him for his egoless persona, his nice and cool behaviour and his professional approach in getting the right information. His viewers love him for his simplicity and cool presentation style without missing the rigour of the news.”

Every time he would be absolutely punctual, very brief in his questions and thoroughly participating in the questions and answers and asking only relevant clarification if any, Jena wrote heaping praises on Arindam’s professional approach as a journalist.

“I will miss him badly. Now that a cyclonic storm in Bay of Bengal has formed, and will touch East Coast somewhere between Gopalpur and Vishakhapatnam, I and my colleagues in SRC office and the media friends who cover disasters would seriously miss him,” wrote an emotional Jena remembering Arindam.

Brushing aside speculations and assumptions on his death, Jena said, “Whether it was right for him to go on a rescue boat or whether it was right for ODRAF personnel to take them on the boat which was principally on a mission to rescue the elephant out of flood water is a different question which we can possibly come to know after an enquiry. But the act itself was extremely daring.”

“That point of time he and his cameraman were never thinking that they would not return. Their sole motive was to get the closest and the best view for the viewers. But Fate had some other plan. And the accident occurred,” he added.

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