Sources said that in a meeting of the Prasar Bharati Board held in Delhi on Friday, officials of the Board appraised the status of the four Doordarshan channels in the Hindi heartland states of UP, Rajasthan, MP and Bihar. The four channels, which had earlier been operating only for a few hours everyday, were converted by Prasar Bharati into 24X7 channels.

Prasar Bharati officials told the Board that three of the four channels (with DD Rajasthan being the exception) had already acquired pole position in viewership ratings from among regional channels which operate in these states. Officials told the Board that substantial manpower and resources were underutilised and the four regional channels, which are now running round the clock, only required a minimum investment.

"The Board was appreciative of the efforts made by Prasar Bharati to run channels by effectively utilising the existing resources and agreed that the possibility of turning the existing terrestrial stations in Ranchi, Raipur and Dehradun into 24 into 7 channels on similar lines," a senior official said.

Prasar Bharati had earlier been questioned by the I&B Ministry to clarify if its board had given a categorical approval to the launch of the four Hindi channels in the states. The official said that in the Board meeting held on Friday, there was no specific discussion on the clarification sought by the ministry.

Another official said that in a way Prasar Bharati was not starting new channels but only "ramping up" Doordarshan channels, which were telecasting content just for a couple of hours, into 24 hour channels. Senior officials said that earlier, the Vision Committee of Prasar Bharati had approved the proposal to examine the possibility of expansion of the present terrestrial stations of Ranchi, Raipur and Dehradun in to 24-hour channels on the pattern of the four channels.

Meanwhile a senior official in the I&B ministry said while a clarification had been sought from Prasar Bharati as to whether its Board had approved the setting up of the four round-the-clock channels, the intention was only to ensure that due processes are followed.

(Agencies)

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