Bhanjnagar: With Doordarshan, once a ‘go-to’ channel for entertainment and information, failing to compete with private channels, the central government is going to close down 125 low-power transmission centres across the nation.
In a directive issued February 24, the central government has said these centres would be closed down in six weeks time.
There are ten such centres in Odisha.
The centres to be closed down in the state are Bhanjnagar, Anandapur, Brajarajnagar, Dasarathpur, Dhenkanal, Joda, Karanjia, Khandapada, Mohana and Rajranpur.
Resentment is brewing over the decision among the residents in Bhanjanagar town of Ganjam district. “A few months ago, Bhanjanagar transmission centre and some others were modernized, spending a huge amount. If the government is to close down the centres in any way, then why money was spent to refurbish the centres,” they asked.
The Bhanjnagar relay centre was set up on the premises of B-Ed College in the year 1989. The man behind this was the then MP late Somnath Rath. It was due to his efforts that the centre came up. Its transmission was then only 100 watt.
However, five years ago, the 100 watt transmission was replaced with a 500 watt transmission. But the new transmission could not be made fully functional for infrastructure related issues.
The centre received another jolt last year when its tower suffered damages during a thunderstorm. The centre was in the need of a new tower for its 500 watt transmission. Hence, six months ago, a new tower was established and some modernisation work was also carried out.
Thereafter, another issue relating to its land cropped up and affected its normal functioning. Since it is functioning from the campus of B-Ed College, a controversy erupted between the college authorities and Prasar Bharati over land issue. The then Ganjam Collector intervened and the matter was solved. Now Rs 3,440 is being given to the college authorities towards rent.
Three months ago the relay centre had received a sum to get a boundary wall constructed. But the government unsanctioned the amount, it was learnt.
Even today, Doordarshan is a source of infotainment in rural areas. “In the event of closure of these centres, poor people will have to spend more as they need to buy DTH to get the channel. So the government should give a second thought to its decision,” local residents observed.
And the six employees working at the centre are yet to know what would become of them after the closure of the centre. They said, “We are in a state of confusion. Regarding our job, no directive has come as yet.”
Notably, Chikiti, Kabisuryanagar and G Udayagiri relay centres had already been closed last year.