BHUBANESWAR: The controversy surrounding telecast rights of television channels was put to rest by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Tuesday after it decided to allow all TV channels for live telecast of world famous Rath Yatra, although with a rider.
After the managing committee meeting of SJTA at Puri, the temple’s chief administrator Pradipta Mohapatra said all television channels can telecast the car festival live like previous years, but have to pay a fee.
“The channels, which will telecast advertisements during the programme, will have to pay a certain fee to the temple administration.
Channels not airing advertisements can telecast the event free of cost,” he clarified.
Stating that the objective behind the inviting bids for live telecast rights was to collect revenue for the temple administration from channels which earn huge revenue from commercial advertisements during the telecast of the festival, Mohapatra said the decision on the charges to be levied will be decided in a meeting with the channel heads in next two days.
Earlier, the SJTA had published an advertisement in newspapers calling for auction of rights for live telecast of Ratha Yatra festival including Snana Yatra, Rath Yatra, Bahuda Yatra, Suna Besha, Adhar Pana and Niladribije Utsav.
Seven bids from different media houses were received following the expression of interest advertisement. While the highest offer of Rs 54 lakh reportedly came from a popular Odia TV channel, other television channels quoted Rs 36 lakh, Rs 15 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, Rs 4.44 lakh and Rs 1.25 lakh.
The move had come in for strong opposition from a section of the servitors and culture lovers who claimed that auctioning would lead to commercialisation of Rath Yatra as it is a religious occasion and not a sports event.
On Monday, the decision for auctioning the telecast rights was also challenged in the Orissa High Court.
A lawyer and president of Puri Sachetan Nagarika Mancha Prasanna Kumar Dash had filed a public interest litigation seeking immediate rollback of the auction decision.