Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is all set to launch a new 24x7 satellite television channel in the north-east on 25 December to cater to the region’s cultural sensibilities.

The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has allocated a sum of Rs7 crore to the broadcaster for the launch of the channel named DD Arun Prabha. Prasar Bharati runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.

“DD Arun Prabha will showcase programmes on the diverse culture of the north eastern states. The ministry has already sanctioned money for this channel,” said A. Surya Prakash, chairperson, Prasar Bharati. The decision was taken by the Prasar Bharati board in a meeting on 17 October.

This will be Doordarshan’s second channel for the north-eastern region. The state-owned broadcaster already runs DD North-East, which telecasts entertainment and information-based programmes in Assamese, Bengali, English and other languages of the north-east region. “The existing channel has not been able to meet the cultural needs of the area because of its cultural diversity and multiple languages and dialects,” said Prakash.

The proposal to launch DD Arun Prabha was initially announced in Narendra Modi government’s first budget. The proposal was subject to clearances till now.

This move also comes as a part of Doordarshan’s initiative to strengthen its activities in the north-east.

In September, Doordarshan had partnered with an outdoor music festival of Arunachal Pradesh called Ziro Festival of Music, which is organized by a local cultural organisation, tourism department of Arunachal Pradesh and the ministry of development of north-east region.

“North-east is an area that needs our focus. There are so many states with such diverse cultures and languages. We had asked the government a few years ago that every state in that region needs a separate channel, given the diversity,” said Prakash.

In its 17 October meeting, the Prasar Bharati board had also given an ultimatum to Doordarshan to auction the prime time programming slots of DD National to private producers. The broadcaster has already conducted two failed application rounds (citing shortcomings in applications) and is planning to conduct a final amended round, starting 15 November.

Doordarshan is planning to conduct the auction on 14-15 December, and will roll out the new programming from February 2017. - Livemint