Rath Yatra telecast rights: OTV emerges highest bidder, all eyes on SJTA’s decision tomorrow

Puri: Amidst the ongoing ambiguity and hue and cry over decision to auction Rath Yatra live broadcasting rights, OTV has emerged as the highest bidder, official sources said on Monday. As many as seven Odia and Hindi channels had participated in the bidding process of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and the bids were opened today.

However, SJTA will take a final decision tomorrow regarding which channel will be granted the rights for telecast of the entire annual chariot festival starting from Snana Purima to Rath Yatra, Bahuda, Suna Vesha and Niladri Bije this year.

“There were seven competitors and OTV emerged as the highest bidder. We do not know what will happen, as the SJTA will take a final decision tomorrow,” said Shyama Prasad Mishra, DGM OTV Network.

It is pertinent to mention here that the SJTA had recently decided to auction the telecast rights of the Puri Rath Yatra festival which draws lakhs of devotees from across the globe to the pilgrim town of Puri every year.

SJTA chief Pradipta Mohapatra had said that Puri temple holds the rights of telecast from Deva Snana Purnima to Niladri Bije and the temple administration is mulling to auction the telecast rights to increase its revenue.

Though SJTA claimed that the move is aimed at revenue generation, the decision has not gone down well with several servitors as well as other intellectuals.

Challenging the administration’s bidding process; a PIL was filed today in the Orissa High Court. Puri-based lawyer Prasanna Kumar Das has filed the PIL citing that auction of telecast rights is a violation of Srimandir Act. The petitioner has urged the court to scrap the notification.