Mrunal Manmay Dash

Shock and grief descended over the Odisha Television Limited’s (OTV) office at Patia in Bhubaneswar on Friday and sadness gripped when the news of the death of daredevil journalist Arindam Das, who was grievously injured in a boat mishap, landed at the channel’s input.

An errie silence prevailed in the news room for a moment as everyone tried to swallow the bitter news of a newsman becoming news himself following his tragic death. The newsroom of OTV which covers news from the nooks and corners of the State was in a state of shock. And when tears started rolling down the eyes of the grief-striken colleagues it became difficult to control emotions.

Senior News Anchor Bhabani Shankar Mohapatra, who broke the news during a bulletin, broke down himself while on air. Bhabani was live and was taking ground reaction from the spot (Mundali Barrage) where Arindam was on assignment when the Emergency Medical Officer of SCB Hospital in Cuttack, Bhubanananda Moharana announced that Arindam had been brought dead. The ace scribe could not be revived despite several attempts by the doctors, he announced.

Bhabani was crestfallen and inconsolable while desperately trying to hold back tears upon hearing the massive tragedy with his dearest colleague. On live TV, Bhavani cried his heart out.

The input desk through which all the news flows, was literally out of words. The very man with whom they interacted day in and day out, for news, was no more. The heavy metalic voice would not resonate the newsroom and on the TV sets in households any more.

OTV News Editor Radhamadhab Mishra could not hold his tears and cried inconsolably when the news came in. “I still can’t believe that he (Arindam) is no more amongst us. I feel like he will come to me right now and play a prank on me.”

Whatever may be the occasion or location—from cyclones to floods or any other disaster situation-- Arindam Das stood out above all. OTV's man for all seasons, Arindam had carved out a niche in disaster reporting in Odisha. With his daredevilry and passion to walk the extra mile to get the most accurate news for the viewers in the fastest possible time, he had earned admiration across households in the State.

Starting his career as a Crime Reporter, he shot to limelight during the coverage of the abduction of Puri-based Italian tour operator, Paolo Bosusco and tourist Claudio Colangelo by the Maoists while trekking in Kandhamal district on March 14, 2012. Arindam reported from the dense jungles of Kandhamal and made sure the telecast of a blow-by-blow account of the kidnapping incident goes on uniterrupted.

However, Arindam soon found his calling in wildlife and disaster reporting. A storm chaser, he could not hold himself back whenever there is a disaster looming large on the State of Odisha. Be it cyclone Fani, Hud Hud or Phailin, he would be the go-to man for OTV. His penchant for news made him encounter the scariest of cyclones and floods in bringing in the latest updates from ground zero.

His live reporting on the landfall of cyclone Fani at Chilika lake brought him laurels from every quarter.

In one of his disaster reporting assignments recently, Arindam was seen reporting on the plight of villagers in Kanas during the floods that marooned several villages of the block. He waded through waist-deep water and later hopped into a boat to scout the marooned villages and ensured best reportage from ground zero.