PR officers directed to cover Dharmik Darshan yatra with own smartphones

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: May 08, 2015 12:36 IST

With the Punjab government going all out to promote the Dharmik Darshan Yatra, apparently to deflect the public ire over the Moga incident, the public relations (PR) department has stumped its officers with its latest order: buy smartphones and use these to cover the event.

According to a letter dated May 5, issued by the director public relations (DPR), Punjab, a copy of which is with HT, it has been made imperative for all district public relations officers (DPROs) and assistant public relations officers (APROs) to click at least 25 ‘good’ photographs each and shoot five videos each with their smartphones in order to promote the event through WhatsApp and Facebook.

There are about 30 such officers working in various districts of Punjab. About half of them are not even tech-savvy, especially those who have risen from the ranks. They have no option but to comply with the order and buy smartphones – without having any idea how to use them.

Sources said some of these officers were taking the help of their children to learn how to click photos and shoot videos and then forward the same.

As per the letter, the department has appointed four officers — Senu Duggal, Harmeet Singh Dhillon, Kultar Siyapuri and Arun Chaudhary — who would receive videos from the DPROs and APROs and make these viral on Facebook and other social networking sites, besides WhatsApp.

“After this order, I bought a smartphone for Rs 22,000. I have started learning how to use it. But what is the point of shooting videos when a team is following the yatra,” a DPRO said on the condition of anonymity.

The order has also come as a surprise for those who are techsavvy and are already using smartphones, since through a separate order, the department has directed all DPROs and APROs to appoint a team of cameramen for videography and still photography of the yatra.

As per the May 5 letter, the department has appointed cameraman Tarun Veer Rajput to remain with the yatra throughout its journey. The letter says Rajput would send video clips and photos to officials for uploading these on social networking sites.

Sources said the department on Thursday appointed Chandigarh-based DPROs and APROs to coordinate with one newspaper each to ensure and monitor yatra coverage.

As per a top officer of the department, there is great pressure on officials to create hype about the yatra, keeping in view the outrage sparked by the Moga incident.

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