Automation: Temptation for Technology Or !!

It is learnt that the Directorate of Doordarshan has decided to replace the existing LPTVs and HPTVs in 1+1 Auto mode (Remote operating and Monitoring system), a project sanctioned in 10th Plan. The project envisages in the first phase to replace the transmitters installed in 1981-82 with two transmitters with cent percent redundancy, together with UPS, Gen-Sets etc-etc with a provision of switching and monitoring from a remote controlling station. It needs to be emphasized here that all these new transmitters are analog transmitters i.e. when the world is heading towards Digital Transmission system like DTT, our Doordarshan is pumping money in installing brand new analog systems. It is worthwhile here to mention that at many DD kendras, Digital test transmission is going on for the last 2-3 years now, with the aim of broadening the base soon. It is also worth mentioning here that whenever our officials attend conferences/ seminars in India or abroad, they make it a point to emphasize that DD has taken a giant leap towards DTT and point out a number of advantages of DTT over the existing analog transmitters. Then why this hurry in replacing the fully functional analog transmitters with brand new (and many times more costly) transmitters ? it is learnt that 139 LPTVs will be replaced initially and others will follow suit. Presently about fifty LPTVs are undergoing modification. Approximate cost per LPT will be nearly two crores. The project note says that the new system will reduce the requirement of operational staff. it appears that there may be some reduction of staff requirement (though the data is not available). Past experience says that similar such automations/ modifications like VLPTs in general and FM transmitters in Delhi and some other stations in particular became a liability for the department and required repair and monitoring by the barely trained staff. A question arises as to what is our National Policy on terrestrial T.V. transmission ? Are we heading for analog transmission for another 20 years to come, or we are

going to switchover to DTT system in near future. All the major developed and developing countries are already in the process of change over from analogue to digital. As per the study done by some of our DDK Trivendrum colleagues, the total automation of nearly 1000 LPTVs will cost the country more then Rs.2400 Cr. Is Govt. spending such an amount just to send some of staff members home or there can be couple of more questions crying for an answer;
" Does the automation offer any extra service?
" Whether it is less expensive?
" Whether the existing transmitters cannot function further?
" Is the performance of existing transmitters not good?
" Is the new system a state-of-the-art technology?
" Whether the cost on maintenance staff is high?
" Can the automatic transmitter be accommodated as
part of future digital terrestrial transmitter?BBC is sought to be emulated by authorities when it comes to the reduction in staff strength, but it is equally true that the operating cost of BBC is twelve times that of AIR & DD and Britain is a developed nation with a population of just 60 million whereas in India we are 1100 million (18 times higher). Let us also not forget that an automated system works well if power supply is non-erratic.
To make things clearer for ourselves we took up the matter with DG, and the Engineer-in-Chief of Doordarshan. Dr. V.K.Singh (E-in-C) informed in the meeting that a committee under one Chief Engineer has been formed to study the impact in detail and there will be a detailed meeting with the Association on this issue. We are waiting for the reply from the authorities. We will come to you after the meeting.