AIR, DD staff march to Parliament for repeal of Prasar Bharati Act

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) About 2000 employees of All India Radio and Doordarshan today held a protest march to Parliament demanding the repeal of the ''outdated and irrelevant''Prasar Bharati Act and that the Corporation's employees and assets should remain part of the Government.

The employees who rallied under the banner of National Federation of Akashvani and Doordarshan Employees (NFADE) said the Act was passed in 1990 when there was no private broadcaster in the country and the AIR and DD were monopolies. Today in the changed scenario, when there are hundreds of private TV channels and radio stations, there is no relevance of Prasar Bharati, said Mr Kulbhushan Bhatia, Secretary General of the Federation.

''The organisation has proved to be a financially unviable proposition, unnecessarily vying with the private broadcasters to grab advertisement revenue,'' he said and cautioned that ''few people with sinister designs'' were eyeing to get the assets of AIR and DD and ultimately sell it off to private parties.

Addressing the gathering, CPI leader D Raja assured his party's support to the employees' demands and agreed with their contention that while granting functional autonomy to Prasar Bharati, all employees and assets should be retained with the Goverment.

Samajwadi Party MP Mohan Singh said it was the duty of the Government to safeguard the interests of the employees and assured the agitators that he would bring a private bill in the Lok Sabha for repeal of the Prasar Bharati Act, if necessary.

Mr Hannan Mollah, CPI(M) MP also spoke on the occasion.

Memoranda were submitted to the Prime Minister and the I&B Minister by the Federation with a threat to embark on a direct confrontation if its demands were not met.

Similar rallies were held near Raj Bhawans and Collectorates in various state capitals and district headquarters.

UNI MMG AKJ BD1835

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