Prasar Bharati (PB) has clarified that the Mail Today story - 'Scam stink as DD to hire DTH it could have bought' published on Monday - was "factually incorrect, conjectural, malicious and defamatory". PB board officer on special duty (OSD), Dhiranjan Malvey said in his written rebuttal that the broadcaster decided to hire facilities for increasing the capacity of Doordarshan's DTH platform to 150 channels as it would not be possible to procure equipment and make it functional within a time-frame. The PB official said under the 11th five-year plan, the government had allocated an amount to upgrade the free DTH facility on Doordarshan by increasing the number of channels offered from 59 to 97. While contending that increasing the capacity to 97 would not have served the "larger public purpose", Malvey pointed out that it was not a Cabinet decision. He said: "For each month that the channel capacity augmentation is delayed, PB would lose more than Rs. 22 crore and the public would be forced to subscribe to the pay platform."
The OSD also raised an objection to the figure of Rs. 200 crore mentioned in the story. The amount was meant to underline the fact that hiring of DTH facilities would cost much more than the Rs. 75.43 crore allocated by the government, including to acquire the enhanced assets and pay the salary of extra employees. PB clarified that the figure was conjectural as it would earn revenue to the tune of Rs. 1,350 crore. Malvey said the board's decision on upgrading the DTH platform was unanimous and member finance A.K. Jain as well as member personnel Shiva Kumar had also approved the move. Furthermore, Malvey, in his letter, objected to an "adverse comment" in the story regarding the procurement of HD camcorders by PB through the propriety article certificate (PAC) route.
He said a high-level committee approved it after evaluating "HD recording systems offered by Sony, Panasonic, Thomson, Grass Valley, JVC and Ikegami". Since the camcorders were meant to be propriety in nature, the PAC route was taken, he claimed.
He said the story gave the impression that the employees who objected to the decision were punished by being transferred. PB claimed that more than 125 employees were shunted out for administrative reasons, including union officebearers who were with it for more than eight years.
Source: India Today