Srinagar: Scores of local artists and freelance television producers Friday alleged that the local Doordarshan Kendra has shut its doors on them.
Talking to IANS, well known Kashmiri television artist and film producer Zamir Ashai said: "During the worst periods of violence when nobody would even dare being seen at the doors of the DD Kendra in Srinagar, local artists and freelance producers kept the transmission going and also continued their artistic and professional affiliation with the DD. Today, we are not being even allowed to enter the premises of the local Kendra."
Frustrated by the apathy shown towards them by the authorities, the local artists and freelance television producers recently formed an association to highlight their problems.
Waheed Jeelani, a renowned singer and freelance producer, said: "We have come under one banner to raise our voice. Huge bungling of funds is going on in the local DD Kendra. There is a huge racket going on in the production of flagship programmes like `Krishi Darshan`, `Bharat Nirman`, `Paryavaran`, and `Sehat`."
"While the actual cost of these in-house programmes is less than Rs.5,,000 per progarmme on the average, the budget of the programme is Rs.20,000," said Jeelani.
"The programmes have been turned into a huge money spinning racket and the authorities deem it fit to keep the local artists and producers away so that nobody gets a whiff of the actual bungling," Jeelani added.
While the head of programmes at the Kendra could not be contacted, Aftab Alam, deputy director general and head of the station at Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar, said: "We have just four hours of telecast available for accommodating fresh programmes. Since our transmission is going on uninterrupted, it means proper and prompt programming is going on at the Kendra."
Ashok Jailkhani, additional director general OF Doordarshan at Delhi, said the allegations were false and motivated.
"Doordarshan is a public place, for that matter, but there has to be discipline and accountability. People are either invited to the Kendra or have legitimate business there," said Jailkhani.
"The present management at the Srinagar Kendra is trying to bring in discipline and accountability and that seems to have irritated some people who want to bend the management for their financial benefit," he said.
Lassa Koul, then director of the local DD Kendra at Srinagar, was kidnapped and later murdered by separatist guerrillas in early 1990s.
Koul was one of the first targets of separatist violence in the valley.
Diktats were also issued to local artists and professionals by the guerrilla groups not to associate themselves with the programmes telecast by the local DD Kendra.