Public broadcaster Doordarshan has allocated Rs 20 crore for distributing 30,000 direct-to-home (DTH) receiver sets in tribal, remote and border areas, Minister of State in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told the Rajya Sabha.
DD runs Freedish, a subscription-free DTH service which has a base of over 22 million customers.
“Prasar Bharati has informed that DTH receiver sets have been distributed by Doordarshan, in the past, in selected areas. Further, 30,000 DTH receiver sets have been approved for distribution in tribal, remote and border areas, in consultation with state governments. An allocation of Rs 20 crore has been made for this purpose,” Rathore said in response to a question.
As per recent reports, Prasar Bharati is likely distribute around 10 lakh DTH set-top boxes free in Naxal-hit areas of the country. The purpose is to reach out to people in the ‘media-dark’ region, which is affected by Left-wing extremism.
The customers of Freedish will, however, have to buy a dish antenna and a set-top box. In case of the Naxal-hit areas, Prasar Bharati is planning to distribute the STBs free. This will help people in the area to connect with the different development schemes of the government.
Addressing an event in Raipur, I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu had said recently that the Centre would distribute 10,000 free DTH STBs in remote and tribal areas of Chhattisgarh.
The initiative would enable people in these areas to watch about 100 television channels free of cost. Besides a dedicated DD channel for Chhattisgarh, Naidu had also stated that a high-power transmitter would be commissioned in Jagdalpur (Bastar district headquarters), which would beam signal of AIR Jagdalpur to a radius of 200 km.-India Dth