rallies round for quake relief
on 3 February 4:20 pm)
reports coming out of India's western state of Gujarat in
the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck
the state on 26 January present contrasting tales of hope
and abject despair, of examples of great human goodness
and of cynical rapaciousness.
industry has not been spared and has suffered losses
both human and material. In responding to the crisis
in Gujarat, India's television channels have not only
brought heart-rending footage of the earthquake-hit
into every household, but also worked on various fronts
to help in the rehabilitation efforts.
by her belongings an old woman waits for transport in
the town of Morbi, 250 km northwest of Ahmedabad, in
Gujarat. (Courtesy The Newspaper Today)
directing viewers to where they route their contributions,
to organising fund collection and raising viewer awareness,
all the channels to varying extents have worked for the
relief efforts. Some channels are organising independent
relief drives and most employees have come forward donating
a part of their salary to help the families that were shattered
by the recent earthquake. B4U Entertainment, Star, MTV,
Asianet, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee Telefilms and
Doordarshan are among the many who have raised funds towards
was first off the blocks in setting up a call-in facility
so that people could post messages for loved ones, a company
source said. That was when the realisation of the scale
of the disaster was just beginning to seep in. Company chairman
Subhash Chandra made an aerial survey of the disaster area
the very next day to gauge for himself what the situation
was. Zee then set up a relief fund for the victims and all
employees contributed a day's salary for rehabilitation
work. Besides that, the Taleem Research Foundation, a trust
set up by Chandra, has adopted 50 villages and will work
to get them back on their feet as soon as possible.
Television is using its popular gameshow "Kaun Banega
Corepati" (KBC) to raise funds and has announced a special
episode featuring cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar.
will be donating money equivalent to this week's winnings
on the show which is Rs 4.1 million. Apart from this KBC
will have a special show featuring Sachin and a filmstar
and the amount won will go towards relief assistance," corporate
communications head, Yash Khanna says. "Even the staff will
be contributing a part of their salary, the total amount
of which we will get to know by Monday," Khanna adds.
channel Asianet addressed the problem of relief in a different
but no less effective manner. It made announcements on the
channel calling for medical volunteers and got such a positive
response that it had to do a weeding job. It ultimately
settled for a team of doctors and nurses numbering 13 who
left for Gujarat from the southern state of Kerala on Wednesday,
chief operating officer Mohan Nair says. Enquiries with
authorities in Gujarat indicated there were a lot of teams
already in Gujarat and too many people would only add to
the confusion, Nair says. "We also instituted the Asianet
Relief Fund through which we have collected nearly RS 5
million till now," he adds. "A lot of money has come in
from the Gulf which has a large Malayalee population," he
Entertainment immediately set up a relief fund with an initial
contribution of RS 1 million, corporate head of B4U channel
Vinay Kumar, says. "A part of it was made up of contribution's
from the staff. Other than that, across the globe wherever
B4U has operations we have been approaching people to contribute,"
banking on celebrity appeal is Sony Entertainment Television.
They have lined up celebrities to appealing people to donate
and will very soon organise a special show featuring screen
heartthrob Hrithik Roshan. According to Pratibha Vinayak,
Sony's head of corporate communications, the staff have
contributed a days salary toward the relief assistance.
"The company will also be making a direct contribution,
but we would not like to disclose the amount involved,"
meanwhile, has joined hand with the Times of India Relief
Fund and will be running promos six times a day urging people
to contribute. "The staff will be contributing a part of
their salary and the company will match that figure," informs
an MTV source. The MTV crew will also be going around the
city urging people to contribute through road shows.
has not been left behind in all this. Apart from short advertisements
providing information about the Prime Ministers Relief Fund,
the staff is chipping in with a day's salary towards donations
to the fund. "Nearly 90 per cent of the staff have voluntarily
donated their 1-2 days salary towards earthquake relief
assistance," informs deputy director, Doordarshan, Chandrakant
Barve. "The channel has also been hosting a phone-in talk
show 'Hello Sakhi' where we have got scientists,
construction engineers and the charity commissioner answering
to the queries that viewers have," he adds.
response from the industry has been positive to say the
least and it is to be hoped that everyone's efforts pay
off sooner rather than later.