Screen going blank on Doordarshan terrestrial service

I&B Minister says ground-based transmitters for one channel has lost relevance.

Published - March 25, 2022 12:19 am IST - NEW DELHI

Doordarshan Bhwan at Copernicus Marg in New Delhi. File

Doordarshan Bhwan at Copernicus Marg in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

More than 1,200 Doordarshan Analogue Terrestrial TV (ATT) transmitters have been shut down in a phased manner as they had become obsolete, said Anurag Singh Thakur, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, on Thursday.

In a written response to the question raised by Rajya Sabha Member Prasanna Acharya, Mr. Thakur said the ATT transmitters of Doordarshan carrying only one channel had lost their relevance.

This, in view of emerging trends in the broadcasting and availability of “DD Free Dish”, a free-to-air Direct to Home service of Prasar Bharati, under which over 150 TV channels including 51 educational ones were being provided free of cost, without any monthly subscription. “The signals of ‘DD Free Dish’ can be received in the country with the help of small sized low cost dish receive units,” said the reply.

Accordingly, Prasar Bharati decided to phase out the obsolete ATTs. The Doordarshan Analogue High Power Transmitters (HPTs) at Sambalpur, Odisha, were closed down on December 31, 2021, along with many other ATTs. However, the programme production activities at the Doordarshan Kendra in Sambalpur were continuing.

“Employees are not likely to be affected by this decision as re-skilling and redeployment of staff from these installations are done on a need basis... the rationalisation of obsolete terrestrial transmitters has no bearing on content generation by the AIR and DD Kendras,” it said.

Replying to another query of Member John Brittas, the Minister said the Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology (2021-22) in its 27th report had recommended the commissioning of a Media Commission. However, at this stage, it was not considered necessary.

“The Government regularly holds consultations with stakeholders and utilises data/information available from various sources for policy formulation, building strategies, etc. The setting up of a Media Commission is not considered necessary at present,” said the reply.

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