AIR could not cowl Commonwealth Video games

JAIPUR: There is a possibility that for the first time in memory the , which start in Australia on April 4, will not be broadcast by — thanks to the ongoing standoff between the information & broadcasting ministry and .
There are reports that Prasar Bharati might ask AIR to cancel its bookings at the Games.

With AIR already having paid Rs 1.6 crore so far for broadcasting rights and booth bookings, such a late-stage decision would mean foregoing a major portion of the money. “AIR is likely to get back less than Rs 30 lakh as refund,” a source told TOI.

This follows AIR’s request for an additional Rs 50 lakh as expenses for travel, bed & board for its 13-member team, and transfer of equipment. Prasar Bharati has been facing a funds crunch because of problems with the I&B ministry and has had to dig into its reserves to pay salaries.

“The management of PB want AIR to cancel coverage,” the source said. “AIR has requested them to reconsider since it’ll be difficult to explain the loss of over Rs 1crore of public money. However, PB bosses feel that isn’t AIR’s problem and they will do the explaining if need be.”

AIR was scheduled to do live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies, hockey and badminton. “Along the way, we would have added the events in which India does well,” an official with the broadcaster said. “India’s expected to do well in hockey and badminton, so live coverage booths for these sport was pre-booked,” the official added.

India is sending a large contingent to the Games this time and is expected to put up a good performance. IOA, ministry spar over contingent size

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