Rath Telecast: Channels Turn Down Donation Plea By Puri Shrine!

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Puri: Heads of television channels in Odisha are reportedly reluctant to donate Rs 10 lakh each to the Jagannath Temple fund against the rights to telecast the upcoming Rath Yatra live.

In a meeting on Saturday, Shrine Chief Administrator P K Mohapatra individually asked the TV channels to donate the amount. However, no one agreed to the proposal and said they will consider it, sources said.

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administreation (SJTA) had earlier decided to invite bids for the telecast rights for the various rituals such as Snana Yatra, Ratha Yatra, Bahuda Yatra, Suna Besha, Adharapana and Neeladri Bije.

The highest bidder was to get the permission to telecast the event live and share the feed with the national broadcaster, Doordarshan, free of cost, the notification said.

The temple body had justified the move stating that TV channels would earn lakhs from advertisements during the telecast.

Channels that telecast the festival without commercial breaks were to be exempted.

Despite a PIL in the Orissa High Court seeking immediate intervention to stop the auction process, several channels had participated and the highest bid was for Rs 54 lakh.

However, it triggered a controversy and the temple managing body later clarified that no money would be collected from TV channels that would telecast the festival live. They would instead be persuaded to donate generously to the temple fund from their earnings.

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