The incessant rains that have been lashing Karnataka since August 4 have destroyed crores worth of infrastructure. Over 5 lakh people have been displaced due to massive floods and landslides. Amidst the tragedy that struck the state, several fake news messages have been spreading on social media.
On August 10, several English language newspapers published a news story that the Indian Meteorological Department had issued a red warning in Bengaluru, predicting heavy rainfall in the city. Soon after the news spread, the IMD and the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre officials debunked the stories, stating that they were fake. The IMD also said that only light to moderate rainfall is expected in the city.
In another instance, a photograph of a broken railway track went viral on WhatsApp along with a message that claimed that the railway track in Karwar was damaged due to rains and that Konkan Railways had stopped train services. This message, however, is fake and Konkan Railways debunked this saying that the services were fully functional.
“Though some of the trains are cancelled due to heavy rain in Mumbai and Raigad area, the train services on the Konkan Railway route is fully functional. Konkan Railway has decided to register a complaint against the persons spreading such fake news,” Konkan Railways said in a statement released on Twitter.
On August 6, a photo of a major crack on a highway went viral on social media. Soon, news spread that the photo was taken on NH4 near the Belagavi-Maharashtra border close to Nippani taluk. In addition, the North West Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (NWSRTC) officials in Karnataka too informed the media that the cracks had developed near Belagavi’s Nippani. Despite clarifying with several NWSRTC officials, the agency’s representative’s maintained that the picture was taken near Nippani.
As the fake news spread, the officials in Maharashtra issued a clarification stating that the cracks had indeed occurred but the site of the damage was along Kesara Ghat on the Maharashtra-Nashik highway.
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