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Prasar Bharati's Sircar says no new NE channel planned

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MUMBAI: It was on 12 November that the media was abuzz with the news that Indian terrestrial pubcaster Doordarshan (DD) is all set to give birth to another baby to add to its 21 channel brood. Reports stated that the channel called Prabha would target the North Eastern states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to show showcase their art and culture. It seemed as though it was a done thing.

However, when indiantelevision.com contacted Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar, he highlighted that currently there was only a conversation going on whether such a step should be taken; nothing had really fructified.

“This idea was discussed in Arunachal Pradesh during my recent visits but it is for the government - not Prasar Bharati - to decide whether to go ahead with it or not,” says Sircar.

As of now, the government owned network has two all India channels (DD National and DD News), 11 regional language satellite channels, four state networks, one international channel, DD Sports as well as DD Rajya Sabha and DD Lok Sabha. One of these is a satellite TV channel for North East called DD North East that telecasts programmes in Assamese, English and other regional dialects with a programming mix of serials, informative and social shows, infotainment, news, current affairs, art and culture.

With a channel already addressing the needs of TV viewers in this region, does creating a second one make sense? “If additional funds are available from the government then maybe Prasar Bharati could take a shot,” quips Sircar. He was recently on a tour to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Nagaland to understand the issues facing DD in the region and to increase its reach. It was during this tour that some discussions and proposals were made, which were then reported by a wire service. 

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