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 Up loaded on Tuesday October 26, 2010

38 AIR stations headless in four states.


             Of the 50-odd AIR stations spread across the four states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, 38 stations are remaining headless sans station directors. Highly placed sources in Coimbatore told Express that the situation is turning from bad to worse with neither the Prasar Bharathi Board nor the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is taking any steps to improve the public broadcaster on par with the private channels.

          As far as Tamil Nadu was concerned, the posts of station directors at nine AIR stations in Tuticorin, Nagercoil, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Tiruchy, Kodaikanal, Udhagamandalam, Karaikal and Chennai Commercial Broadcasting Service are remaining vacant while not to speak of Chennai-headquartered Deputy Director Generalís office (DDG), southern region is without a head for over 11 months.

         To make matters worse, the present Chennai Station Director K Srinivasaraghavan, who is additionally looking after the post as DDG in-charge is due for retirement on October 29. As a result of which, the capital station would turn headless.
However, sources pointed out that four senior officials--Dr K Vageesh (Director of Music in Delhi), K P Srinivasan (Station Director, Hyderabad), J Kamalanathan (Station Director, Coimbatore) and Latha Raju (Director, Marketing Division, Chennai) are in the race for Station Directorís post in Chennai.

               According to an AIR official, there has been neither recruitment since 1990 nor any promotion in AIR. And the Programme Executives (PEXs) working in the same cadre for the past 18 to 20 years have lost all hopes of getting any promotions.What is irking is that even the promoted Station Directors (SDs) in 1998 were reverted back not as regular ASDs, but on ad hoc basis in 2000. Three such officials, who faced the axe were V Srinivasan, Kumutham and Murugan alias Seiyon.
It is estimated that 20 per cent of the staff would retire by end of December 2010 while 25 per cent each in 2011 and 2012. One couldnít imagine the fate of the public broadcaster with both AIR and DDK being reduced to size with a skeleton staff.
To a question whether I&B Ministry was adopting a delaying tactics citing cases pending in courts, an office-bearer of an union said that none of the courts had given any stay for recruitment whatsoever.

             This being the case, why there has been no recruitment for the past 20 years is a moot question.
Surprisingly, the august body of Prasar Bharati Board which ought to have taken up the issues confronting AIR and DDK failed to discuss it during its meetings.And the silence maintained by I&B Minister Ambika Soni raises the doubt whether the ministry had some hidden agenda. Is the Minister listening.

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