THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a clear case of arbitrariness, the government has replaced the state-run Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-Dit) with the CPM-controlled Kairali TV channel to produce Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s weekly television show ‘Naam Munnottu.’
The move squarely contradicts the Chief Minister’s assurance in the Assembly that the production would be assigned to C-Dit as a matter of principle of the government to support public sector units, pointed out C-Dit employees.
The Information and Public Relations Department (IPRD), the formal producer of the show, selected Kairali TV as the production agency through an arbitrary tender process to favour the party channel.
The IPRD had invited expression of interest for the selection of a producer in December last. After a long silence, the department, on April 26, asked the tender participants to submit the financial bid the next day.
The three participants in the tender were C-Dit, Kairali TV and another Malayalam television channel. The approximate amounts quoted by the three bidders, excluding GST, for a single episode were `3 lakh, `2.50 lakh and `4 lakh respectively.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan signed the file appointing the new agency on the eve of his foreign tour.
Senior IPRD officers could not offer any reason to look for a new producer while C-Dit was executing the job fairly well.
C-Dit employees to take up matter with Chief Minister
So far, C- Dit has produced over 70 episodes and the average cost per episode is about `3 lakh.
IPRD sources told ‘Express’ the unexpected tendering process was part of a well-designed plan to replace C-Dit with the party channel.
“The financial agreement can be revised any time since this is a flagship programme of the government. Also, there is no limit for the variable costs which include the transportation and hospitality expenses for the guests,” they said. It is learnt the C-Dit employees associations would take up the matter with the Chief Minister.
The institution, that faces financial constraints, is yet to get around `70 lakh incurred as the production cost of ‘Naam Munnottu.”