Gangtok, May 12: The 100-metre- tall tower of the Gangtok Doordarshan Kendra with misty clouds hovering over it is a feast for the eyes, but it stands out like a sore thumb as far as its services are concerned.
The Gangtok DD centre, though completed in 2004, has not been able to provide regular programmes like daily news bulletins catering to Sikkim.
Instead, the Gangtok centre airs only a half an hour round-up programme on Sikkim events three times every month and a 30-minute episode on agriculture in the state from Monday to Friday.
Apart from these programmes in Nepali, the centre is a mere transmission point to relay feeds of national DD channels.
On May 4, the lone Lok Sabha member from Sikkim, P.D. Rai of the SDF, wrote to information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni about the delay in the inauguration of the Gangtok DD centre.“It (Gangtok Doordarshan Kendra) was technically commissioned in 2004 but has never been formally inaugurated. The reason for this is that it has never been fully staffed and no programming initiated in a useful way. There is at this time wasteful expenditure on account of the assets so created but not put to use. The talent pool within Sikkim can be utilised in full together with the other North Eastern States,” said the MP in his letter.
Reminding Soni that the matter had been taken up with the Union government many times, Rai said the state government was willing to do the needful to make the DD centre fully operational.
“It may not be out of place to mention that this matter has been repeatedly taken up by our governor and chief minister. This impasse cannot be allowed to fester any longer. If there is any way in which the state government can help then it would be our pleasure to do the needful,” said the MP.
Rai is a member on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on information technology, which looks into the demands of grants of the ministries of information technology and information and broadcasting.
The BJP that has been staging dharnas in the state capital demanding the inauguration of the centre said Rs 9.88 crore had been spent to set up the facility.
The party has also submitted memorandums to the President, Vice-President and the Prime Minister demanding the inauguration of the facility.
“The centre was supposed to be inaugurated in 2002. There are 31 regular employees at the centre and around Rs 2 crore is spent annually on the salaries and maintenance cost,” said state BJP president Padam Chettri.