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Jawhar Sircar’s 12-point tour guidelines

MUMBAI: Being the chief executive officer of a large public broadcaster like Prasar Bharati can have its pitfalls. For Jawhar Sircar, however, it is the best of both worlds. On the one hand, he is out to ward off government interferences to turn around Doordarshan and All India Radio; on the other, he has enlisted tour guidelines for official visits of the states to ensure efficiency, productivity, and comfort.

When the CEO is on tour of different states, a 12-point tour guideline needs to be followed by all heads of Doordarshan kendras and All India Radio stations in the country.

As per a report in the Indian Express, Sircar is entitled to all facilities while visiting states including being treated as a state guest. However, he is not ‘bothered about security, which is more of a show’ and can stay in the state’s guest house ‘as he has to meet people’.

The report adds that ‘he does not require 5 star or 4 star hotels if the State’s Guest House is reasonably good and centrally located’.

“Clearly, the public service broadcaster is leaving nothing to chance. This probably explains the 12-point guidelines on the dos and dont’s when Sircar is touring, which have been put in black and white and circulated all across Prasar Bharati offices,” the report states.

The guidelines provide the minutiae of the vehicle in which the CEO will travel and ask against sending too many officers to receive him at the airport.

“If the state government vehicle is too old, dilapidated or too low, then a Maruti SX4 may be hired as it is government’s replacement of Ambassador. Small bottles of water and a back rest pillow may please be kept in the vehicle,” states one of the guidelines.

Moreover, Sircar disapproves of officers coming to receive him at airport with flowers ‘bought at government expense’.

To forestall the difficulty of finding the venues of meetings or events organised by academic or cultural establishments, the guidelines make it mandatory to send at least a peon or a driver to locate where the venue is.

According to the report, Prasar Bharati also states that the CEO “would like to see only one or two senior officers at the airport so as to fix up the programmes. Officers are required to brief Sircar about their operations and difficulties in the car while travelling, instead of following him in the next car as he does not want to waste any time”.

DD and AIR station heads have been told to ensure that the head or deputy head ‘or the smartest senior officer’ of major cities ‘must form linkages’ with the chief secretary’s office by calling on him ‘offering coverage, cooperation, and joint programmes so that linkages are formed and the complete insularity of 80 per cent of our stations is broken’.

The guidelines mention in brackets that ‘many chief secretaries and culture secretaries have complained about these insularities’.

In the past, Saircar has spoken against government interferences on many occasions. Recently at the FICCI Frames, he mentioned that although he feels helpless due to the nosy-parker attitude of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), he is a fighter and will not let go so easily. “I am not a robot. I can walk off today, if needed,” he had said.