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Prasar Bharati turns down NFDC demand of Rs 2.92 crore for private firm

SNS | New Delhi |

Prasar Bharati has rejected a demand of Rs 2.92 crore from the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) for payment to a private firm hired by the latter for the live coverage of the 2017 International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

The demand was reportedly turned down in a board meeting on 15 February. According to reports, Prasar Bharti also asked NFDC, which is a PSU under Minister of Information and Broadcasting, why a private firm was hired for a job which can be handled by Doordarshan, which is run by PB.

NFDC was given the task of managing IFFI in July 2017.

According to Indian Express, NFDC had asked Doordarshan to pay the money a week before the festival opened on November 20 but that demand, too, was declined.

The Corporation has since then persisted in its demand.

“Doordarshan officials strongly objected to NFDC’s demand. They said Doordarshan is fully qualified for such coverage and has been doing it all these years. So why should a private company be asked to do it now,” the source said.

Prasar Bharati, however, tweeted today that the board in its meeting on October 25, 2017, had discussed the matter of the festival coverage. It was proposed that special content around IFFI be developed to attract high viewership and monetise the festival through better marketing for greater revenues.

“The board approved the proposal for DD to commission special content for IFFI through NFDC to be produced by an external agency through an open tender process,” it said.

The board was also informed that the opening and closing ceremonies would be provided to Doordarshan by NFDC to be telecast live, the statement said.

“Prasar Bharati, on 19 January 2018, confirmed the payment due from Doordarshan to NFDC towards IFFI,” it said.

Prasar Bharati received on 12 February NFDC’s subsequent request regarding its expenses towards the live production of the opening and closing ceremonies, it said.

The issue was “subsequently brought to the attention of the Prasar Bharati Board” at its 147th meeting held on 15 February 2018. “…The Board deliberated on the matter,” the statement read.

Referring to a media report on the subject, Prasar Bharati said the “manner in which the report in the media has sought to manufacture a controversy by selective culling of facts is unfortunate”.

(With inputs from agencies.)