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No need for publicity for TRS ministers?

No need for publicity for TRS ministers?

The report that Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is planning to do away with appointment of public relations officers for the minister in his cabinet has triggered a wide debate in the media circles in the state.

It has been a common practice that every minister is entitled to appoint a public relations officer (PRO) to send regular press releases on the activities of the minister, his official programmes and decisions taken by his department to the media. Each PRO would be paid a remuneration of Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per month.

These PROs help maintain a cordial relationship between the department and the media and ensure adequate media coverage to his official tours, press conferences etc.

They would also build up relationship between the ministers and their constituency people. 

But, according to the media report, KCR has been given the impression that these PROs are misusing their position and indulging in making quick money through various corrupt activities such as land dealings, sand transactions and even taking commissions in contracts.

He was also told that some PROs are collecting big money from people to arrange meetings with the ministers.

So, this time, KCR has decided to do away with the system of PROs and all the publicity for the programmes taken up by ministers and their departments would hereafter be done through a centralized communications mechanism, which would be outsourced to a private agency.

Sources, however, said the real intention of KCR is not to prevent corruption but is something else.

“It is not correct to brand all the PROs as corrupt. May be there are two or three people who might have misused their position,” a source said.

According to sources, the actual reason behind KCR’s decision is that he does not want any minister to get highlighted in the media for his department’s progress or performance.

He does not want the credit to go to his ministers, but to him and his family members.

"If there is a centralized communication system in place of PROs, every press release or statement will come only from the CMO and the ministers would have to be just dummies," a source said.

Thus, no minister will get publicity however hard he might work. Apparently, KCR was not happy with the way entire credit for the construction of Kaleshwaram project had gone not to him, but to his nephew and former irrigation minister T Harish Rao, because of the latter’s PROs.

Hence, the new system!