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SAD-BJP to spend around Rs 25 crore on pre-election publicity

The cabinet has already cleared Rs 20 crore for this.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Updated: June 6, 2016 2:56:13 pm

The SAD and the BJP alliance will be leaving no stone unturned to woo voters ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls. The government will launch a massive drive spending close to Rs 25 crore in the next eight months. The cabinet has already cleared Rs 20 crore for this.

The move comes after the experiment to hire a Delhi-based firm last year for Rs 1.25 crore failed to deliver. Hired to handle all social networking sites along with blogs of the government, the two-year contract with OmLogic was terminated for ‘under performance’.

Starting June 20, around 50 vans hired from a Bhopal-based firm for Rs 20,870 each per day will be seen doing the rounds in each district and will highlight the government’s ‘achievements’. As per plans, initially, only two vans will be stationed at each district.

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Speaking to The Indian Express, Rahul Tewari, Secretary, Information and PR Department, Punjab said that the price was the best on offer.

“We called for tenders twice. At first, there was no response. Later, six companies quoted prices and Rs 20,870 per day per van was the lowest which was quoted. They will be giving us Swaraj Mazda along with fuel, driver, LED screen among others. If the project is successful, 50 more will be added. Shows are expected to begin anytime after June 20,” Tewari said.

Apart from this, the department has also started recruitment process for hiring 117 NEOs (nodal publicity executive officers), at a salary of Rs 15,000 per month, who will coordinate these vans.

Another team of 117 feedback officers (one for each assembly segment) hired for Rs 35,000 per month will directly reach out to at least 600 beneficiaries of government schemes in a month and get feedback.

Speaking to The Indian Express, an official involved in hiring of NEOs and feedback officers said, “The minimum qualification for NEOs is Class 12 while for feedback officers needs to be a graduate. They will be coordinating with our district public relations officers (DPROs) in organising shows via publicity vans.

The show includes an hour video on government works, two hours will be dedicated to show a Punjabi flick ‘Chaar Saahibzaade’ and some capsules of government policies. While NEOs have already been finalised in majority of the 22 districts through agencies, the tender for feedback officers will open on June 11.”

Notably, along with vans, the total expenditure would cost the government Rs 3.58 crore per month for this ‘special’ publicity drive. However, the amount is expected to increase as another fleet of 50 vans will be added soon. In addition, Rs 5,000 will also be given for ‘refreshments’ at each station for the show.

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