The Centre’s decision to shut down Silchar Doordarshan Kendra has created a stir among social and cultural groups of the city in Assam. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a notification in this regard to stop all programmes of Silchar DDK from March 31, 2022.
The development came as a shock to Barak Valley, where above four million people live, most of them Bengali speaking. According to Barak Bulletin, Silchar is one of the 24 ATT/HPT locations where the Directorate General had ordered multiple entities to telecast one state/regional channel.
Meanwhile, the Silchar Municipal Board hiked the Gandhi Bhavan auditorium, which has also drawn flak from netizens.
The social and cultural groups in Silchar see these decisions as retrograde measures against cultural activities. Representatives of the cultural bodies held a meeting against the twin move under the chairmanship of noted social activist Pradip Dutta Roy to form a strategy to resist the moves. They decided to discuss the Doordarshan matter with MP Dr Rajdeep Roy, presently out of the town and sent a memorandum to concerned authorities in New Delhi.
The members of cultural groups also met J R Lalsim, Chief Executive Officer of the Municipal Board, and urged her to reconsider the sudden hike in the rent of the auditorium. The jump in rent from Rs 2000 to Rs 8000 has come as a blow to the cultural bodies. However, no assurance was given by the Chief Executive Officer. Hence, the cultural bodies have decided to launch an agitation unitedly, The Sentinel reported.
On July 23, the Doordarshan Kendra Silchar announced that it would stop its local production and telecast the “State Network Channels” in place of it. The decision was taken following an order of the Directorate General.
“The entire office is sad and the onus is now on local politicians and cultural organisations. I hope that they will do enough to make the Centre realise that DDK Silchar is a necessity and not a luxury,” said the head of programme at DDK Silchar.
The Prasar Bharati’s decision to shut DDK Silchar was met with criticism from several NGOs and opposition political leaders as well, the Time of India reported.
Asking the authorities to reconsider the decision, Rupam, a socio-cultural organisation, told the newspaper that DDK Silchar was the only medium through which the distinct, multi-lingual culture of southern Assam was presented. Former Trinamool Congress MP Rajdeep Roy said that people’s agitation stalled such earlier attempts by the Centre in Silchar, the TOI reported.