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Prasar Bharati may lose Commonwealth Games

Ashish Sinha  |  New Delhi 

With only about 30 months to go for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be hosted in the capital, public broadcaster may stand to lose its right as the global broadcaster of the event in the absence of any budgetary support in the
has to telecast the Commonwealth Games in both digital and else it will cease to be the global broadcaster. For that, it requires an estimated investment of Rs 9,431 crore in the next three years.
As against this demand, the has proposed only Rs 5,439 crore as gross budgetary support in the Eleventh Plan period, a 4.2 per cent higher budgetary allocation in comparison to Tenth Plan period (2002-07).
This, according to experts, will not be able to meet Prasar Bharati's requirement of converting its infrastructure from the current analog transmission to digital and HDTV formats.
Both digital and HDTV format require huge capital investments. But no specific budgetary allocation in the Eleventh plan has raised questions on Prasar Bharati's capabilities of covering the Commonwealth Games in digital and HDTV format.
Digital technology enables transmission of information through lesser bandwidth as compared with the analog mode, while the HDTV format is a global format adopted by several developed countries as it enables 16 times better picture and sound quality in comparison to the normal television broadcast.
Even the sub-group, in its recommendations submitted earlier this year, had suggested additional fund requirements for for telecasting the Commonwealth Games in HDTV format.
According to the recommendations of the sub-group that was headed by Rajeeva Ratna Shah, member secretary, Planning Commission, has outlined requirement of capital investment of Rs 3,531 crore for Doordarshan during 2007-15, while All India Radio (AIR) will require investments of Rs 5,900 crore over the next 10 years.
The sub-group has recommended to make transmission digital in Delhi by 2010. This is to be followed by other metros by 2011 and the rest of the country by 2013. But the Eleventh Plan document is silent on the roadmap of turning digital.
"Turning digital could lead to a big annual savings for Post-digitisation, five to seven DD channels can be hosted on a transponder as opposed to one or two now," an industry source said. Digitisation will also help reduce the cost of setting up TV transmitters.


First Published: Wed, December 26 2007. 00:00 IST