DDK Srinagar officials’ rich harvesting on Krishi Bhawan
Daily embezzlement of Rs 14,000 in Agriculture Ministry’s farming programme
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Fully sponsored by union Ministry of Agriculture, daily farming programme in Kashmiri “Krishi Darshan” has proved to be a goldmine for the officials at DDK Srinagar for the last over eight years. Producers have become multi-millionaires and their lifestyles have changed overnight after they became associated with this particular programme. While as Ministry, according to sources, has been providing Rs 1 lakh daily for this production, budget of Rs 20,000 remains reserved for outsourcing portion.
According to well-placed sources in DDK Srinagar, one privately engaged cameraman, Nisar Ahmed, has been preparing the daily programme with the help of his obsolete Mini DV and a private editing table with total expenditure of Rs 6,000. Daily earnings of the DDK producer, 50% of which he shares with Director of the station, are to the tune of Rs 14,000.
Giving a break-up, sources said, Rs 1,000 a day was being paid to the cameraman, Rs 1,000 to the anchor who is also being used to write the script and Rs 1500 to Rs 1800 to the owner. Producer claims Rs 1000 a day on account of script writing daily which is drawn in the name of his trusted relatives/ acquaintances who have never seen a script, let alone writing it. An amount of Rs 4500 is claimed daily on account of editor’s charges/editing table. Even as cheques of the amount are drawn separately in the name of five different editing tables, entire job is conducted by only one.
With minor deduction as commission, ranging between Rs 200 to 300, owners of the fake editing tables later return the amounts drawn to the producer. Even if the producer pays Rs 1800 to the editor and Rs 200 more to other editing tables in rotation every day, saving of Rs 2500 accrues on account of post-production alone. Media International alone has a non-linear editing system while as none of the other rotational payees has this sophisticated facility in place.
Segments of the programme, under a memorandum of understanding with Ministry of Agriculture, are supposed to be filmed on state-of-the-art DVC Pro-50 format. However, the cameraman uses his worn out Mini DV and later takes the output on DVC Pro-50. Cost of the DVC Pro-50 tape is around Rs 600 to Rs 900 in
. Mini DV tapes sell between Rs 80 and Rs 150 a piece. One-run tapes are freely available even for Rs 50 to 70 each. Thus, technical quality is the first casualty. Srinagar
Besides, the subject experts are paid Rs 1,000 each. “By conservative estimates, total expenditure on production/ post-production of each programme is less than Rs 6,000. Payment of Rs 20,000 is drawn on account of different fake heads in the name of particular nominees. Producer’s daily earning from just this programme is Rs 14,000”, said an informed source. He revealed that the producer shares 40 to 50% of the earnings with the head of the station”.
Insiders further revealed that details of only the anchor and one or two experts are reflected on the main cue sheet. According to these sources, DDK Srinagar officials later make a parallel cue sheet to record details of all payees that is not accessible for the common people or other officials of the station. “Duty Officers at the station are part and parcel of the embezzlement. They claim their share and record the desired certificate in the log book every day, justifying payment of Rs 20,000”, said an official. Yet another insisted that the daily budget was around Rs 50,000 and funds worth Rs 40,000 were being swindled every day on account of producing only Krishi Darshan.
Mufti Riyaz is currently executive producer of ‘Krishi Darshan’ but two particular producers, namely Shammi Shayir and Nasir Mansoor, have been the key beneficiaries in the last six years. Producers Ghulam Nabi Dar and Abdul Rashid Bhat, both retired now, had allegedly made huge earnings in the initial years of the programme. Each of these producers has raised fortunes, far disproportionate to his salary and other known sources of income. None of them, however, agrees to make a comment in explanation.
Viewers have observed that footage of agriculture crops, sheep and animal husbandry environs and livestocks have been repeatedly used in “Krishi Darshan” , sometimes dozens of times in the cycle of just three to four months. However, payment of fresh footage is fraudulently claimed every time.
Even as Producer Nasir Mansoor has been lately replaced by Mufti Riyaz in Krishi Darshan, he has successfully grabbed DDK’s own daily farming programme “Butraat” for consideration of higher benefits. Auditors are unlikely to point out the huge difference but records are clear at DDK Srinagar that a former Produce of the programme, namely Mohammad Yousuf Parray, prepared “Butraat” for mere Rs 6,000. His successors, namely Nazir Dara and now Nasir Mansoor, claimed stupendous amount of Rs 40,000 for each episode of “Butraat”.
Insiders revealed that, much like “Krishi Darshan”, there was frequent and unchecked usage of footage. Sometimes, full edited segments were being re-utilized in gross violation of codes. “All these frauds and brazen embezzlements have been pointed out by viewers as well as private producers and intelligentsia. But, there has been no action as Directors of DDK Srinagar have been the beneficiaries of the embezzled money with the Producer on 50:50 basis”, said an official who has completed over 25 years of his service at Srinagar station. According to him illegitimate earnings were Rs 14,000 from “Krishi Darshan” and Rs 40,000 from “Butraat”. That makes it a scam of just Rs 2 Cr a year but enough for law to take necessary action.