The Parliamentary Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Culture met yesterday under the Chairmanship of S Jaipal Reddy, minister for I & B and Culture. The MPs cutting across party lines lauded the Prasar Bharati DTH scheme to extend coverage of Doordarshan, All India Radio and a bouquet of other private channels to hitherto uncovered areas.
The Government had launched a pilot scheme in seven states and the North Eastern region, where terrestrial coverage was lower than the national average. These states are Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Gujarat and the North East. Doordarshan's Ku Band transmission project was approved by the Government at Rs. 164.35 crore. It include a capital outlay of Rs. 53.80 crore, revenue non-recurring expenditure of Rs. 2.25 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs. 108.30 crore. Prasar Bharati was permitted to use satellite distribution technology in the Ku Band frequency for DDs bouquet of 20 channels and 10 channels of private broadcasters, in free-to-air mode.
The Ku Band transmission makes it possible for the viewers anywhere in the country, except in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, to receive the multi channels bouquet by setting up a small size dish antenna system. Its cost varies from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 3,500. At present, there are 33 TV channels, including 19 DD channels and 14 private channels in the bouquet being uplinked to the DTH platform. In addition, 12 radio channels of AIR are also available in the bouquet.
Doordarshan has already installed 5700 dish antenna receive systems in the identified States. The Members of the Committee also discussed the problems being faced by the project and gave in their suggestions for further improvement.