Wednesday , July 24 2024

The slow rhythm of the Pancham Tal flute and deteriorating relations with the media

(Pawan Singh)

Uttar Pradesh Information Department is the biggest department for publicizing the government's schemes. Truth be told, it is the life and soul of the government, but for the last two years, the cutting of sarees to make “handkerchiefs” for the budget at the government level is now a topic of discussion among journalists. The government is giving ample budget to the Information Department for publicizing its schemes, but the way it is being stopped every time by putting a spout in the “six inch pipe” at the government level, has caused deep resentment in the media. You can understand it like this that the budget is coming like the Bhagirathi river, but at the government level, the budget has been stopped by building the Tehri dam.

The budget is being released like a minor canal. The direct result of this is that the publicity of the many public welfare schemes of the state government is not being done in the way it should have been done through “every means of publicity”. About a month before the announcement of the date of the Lok Sabha election, the Information Department missed the tremendous election campaign of the government schemes only because the budget was not released from the government level. It should be noted that this was the important time when the Information Department needed to put in all its strength for the publicity of the government schemes. It is unfortunate that even after the government gave a huge budget to the Information Department, it was not spent at the administrative level.

The kind of harmony that was maintained between the media, especially the mainstream media and the Information Department, is now starting to crack. The mainstream media did not curse the government on the Hathras incident, but the way it was covered heavily indicated a lot. The media told the government in a roundabout way that if the budget of the Information Department is run like a government-level speed breaker, then it will also run the news like the Yamuna Expressway….

Today, it has been more than a month since the code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections ended, but the speed breaker at the government level remains the same as it was till a month before the date of the Lok Sabha elections was announced or has been there for the last two years. The game of stopping the budget and then releasing it…then stopping it and then releasing it again is also giving rise to many doubts. Repeated discussions of this Pichkari have now become common in the media world.

Uttar Pradesh Information Department used to have a press hospitality fund. Under this fund, accredited journalists used to get vehicle facility in case of any sudden need. Bus/car facility was provided for coverage of any special scheme or program of the state government. Through this fund, arrangements for refreshments were made in press conferences/events organized by the Chief Minister at Kalidas Marg or Lok Bhawan on special occasions, but now this fund has been rendered defunct. According to information, a fund of Rs 10 crore of this item has been surrendered.
At present, there is a strong need for the officials sitting at the government level to understand that the nature of the Information Department is different from the nature and temperament of other government departments.
Now the question is arising whether Pancham Tal is trying to spoil the relationship of the government with the media of Uttar Pradesh. If this is so then what is the intention behind it?