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Star Plus reopens 5.30pm primetime band with Jana Na Dil Se Door

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NEW DELHI: Outstanding dues owed to Doordarshan by private parties have increased to a whopping Rs 1648.2 million as of 31 October 2002. As regards All India Radio, dues owed to the public service broadcaster stand at Rs 66.9 million as of 15 May 2002, according to information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj.

In reply to a starred question in the Lok Sabha on 21 November, Swaraj said that some 71 companies owe DD money, while 93 companies owe AIR money. It is interesting that some companies owe both DD and AIR - for example, Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) which owes DD Rs 3,00,000, also owes Rs 35,21,689 to AIR. 

One of the biggest defaulters, as per a list tabled in the Lok Sabha by Swaraj, is Plus Channel (now defunct, as the company is understood to have been taken over by the Reliance group) which owes DD Rs 10120 million.

Nimbus Communications, which still does work with Prasar Bharati, owes DD some Rs 6120 million. But it is learnt that some cases put in the list tabled in Parliament last week are disputed cases where the company concerned and DD are involved in some legal cases or the money owed to DD has been dubbed by the company concerned as disputed owning to disagreements between it and DD. 

Interestingly, Swaraj also explained in her reply that "monthly monitoring" is done and "regular reminders" are sent by DD asking companies/agencies concerned to clear the outstanding dues. "If the defaulting agencies do not adhere to the payment plan, then the programmes are taken off air and their accreditation status is cancelled/withdrawn," Swaraj told Lok Sabha, citing Prasar Bharati rules.

Yet, there are a number of companies against whom the outstandings have been pending since early this year, as early as March 2002.

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