SABARIMALA: As part of giving momentum to commercialisation and privatisation of Sabarimala pilgrimage, the Travancore Devaswom Board has decided to put an end to the role of the Public Relations Department in the news coverage here for the two-month long Mandala- Makaravilakku season.
In a bid to rope in private agencies in Sabarimala news coverage, the TDB invited quotations for the proposal from private organisations for the two-month long pilgrimage season.
The Public Relations Department was roped in for news coverage of the Sabarimala pilgrimage coverage during the tenure of former Chief Secretary K Jayakumar, who held additional charge as the Chief Devaswom Commissioner, in the absence of the board about five years ago.
Since then the department deployed an officer in the rank of a district information officer for news coverage along with a photographer and computer operator for the two-month festival season.
For the newspapers and agencies, the department’s news coverage was acceptable due to the deployment of experienced hands in the field. Asked about the decision to invite private agencies, TDB top sources said the Public Relations Department’s role was not professional in its approach.In addition, the department was given `3 to `4 lakh for annual news coverage, the sources said.