Making ‘news’ for all wrong reasons

A view of AIR station in Visakhapatnam.—Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Thanks to the apathy of the Centre and the ‘capital obsession’ of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Visakhapatnam – the largest city in Andhra Pradesh, post-bifurcation – is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and the latest to join the buzz is the proposed News Service Division of All India Radio (AIR).

A room was allocated and systems were installed for the starting of the News Service Division but the operation has not been started so far. The lone ‘News Correspondent’, who used to file reports from the city and send them to Vijayawada and Hyderabad, for broadcast in the news bulletins, was transferred to Vijayawada on the plea of ‘staff shortage’ there and the post has not been filled ever since.

Onus on Venaiah Naidu

Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu had underlined the need for setting up a News Service Division of AIR in Visakhapatnam in the past. Since, he has taken additional charge as Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, the onus is on him to prove his commitment to Visakhapatnam.

Notwithstanding the existence of AIR for over five decades in the city, there is no News Division. Though there was some loud thinking on the issue in the past, the need to establish a News Service Division in the city was recognised by the powers that be post-bifurcation.

When his attention was drawn to the issue, Visakhapatnam MP Kambhampati Haribabu said that he had already spoken to the Union Minister Arun Jaitley on the issue and the latter had said there was staff shortage. He was confident that the problem would be sorted out soon.

Despite being the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) and having a good number of defence establishments in addition to several Central Government offices, Visakhapatnam does not have a Press Information Bureau (PIB) office. The city had recently hosted the International Fleet Review (IFR). A PIB official will be the interface with visiting foreign dignitaries besides coordinating with the local media during such events.

“Visakhapatnam needs a PIB Office, more than Vijayawada. This is because of the presence of the Navy and other Central Government organisations. I have already taken up the matter with the Ministers concerned and am pursuing it,” Mr. Haribabu, who is also State president of the BJP, told The Hindu .

[Source:- The Hindu]