Privileges Committee pulls up Info deptt for inadequate coverage

SRINAGAR: The officers of the Department of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) were today summoned by the Privileges Committee of the State Legislature to explain reasons for lack of proper coverage of the proceedings of the House Committees in the media.
The Privileges Committee headed by MLA, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat observed that despite issuing advertisements worth crores of rupees to the newspapers, the DIPR is not ensuring coverage of the proceedings of the House Committees in the media.
Legislators Mohammad Amin Bhat, Javaid Hassan Beigh, Ravinder Raina, Dina Nath Bhagat, Dr Devinder Kumar Manyal and Aijaz Ahmed Mir besides senior officers from Hospitality and Protocol, and Information department were present in the meeting.
The Committee while stressing the importance of proper dissemination of information through media observed that people have to be kept updated regarding the activities of public representatives to maintain their faith in the Legislature.
“As per the official data, the DIPR is issuing advertisements worth Rs 35 crore to the newspapers in the State every year. Why is it so that despite spending such a huge amount on the media, the issues raised by the people’s representatives are not getting due coverage,” the Committee observed and asked the Director Information, Muneer-ul-Islam to look into the matter as the House Committees, according to them, take up various issues of public importance and it is imperative that the proceedings of these Committees reach the people through media.
The Committee asked Director Information to list out measures being taken to fill the gaps in public–government functionaries’ communication network.
Director Information informed the committee that regular press notes are issued to the print and electronic media in the state in three languages i.e., Hindi, English and Urdu, besides the news being featured in Aks –e-Parwaaz bulletin.
The Committee also directed the Director Information to pass directions to District Information Offices to provide due coverage to public welfare activities initiated by legislators to keep people updated on initiatives being undertaken in their respective areas.
The Committee also observed that the Warrant of Precedence accorded to the institution of Public Representative should be given due diligence with regard to protocol, security, accommodation, transportation during visits to other states.
The Committee taking up the issue of providing accommodation to the Legislators outside the state (JK House, New Delhi, Chandigarh) and also J&K Circuit House as per the warrant of precedence with the concerned officials from Hospitality and Protocol, asked the department to respond to the complaints raised by the legislators.
The Committee commented that the objective for establishment of these State Guest Houses in other states was to facilitate government functionaries as well as state subjects in their time of need, adding that these houses are failing to fulfill this objective.
The Committee passed directions to the department of Hospitality and Protocol to take up expansion of JK houses in Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai besides Circuit Houses in Jammu and Srinagar. Further, the Committee asked for upgradation works to be launched to update the obsolete infra, amenities at these locations.