150 Kerala villages participate in reality show on development

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 14 (IANS) In a novel idea, 150 villages will vie at a reality show beginning Monday for the top slot in terms of maximum development achieved in their council.

The show to be inaugurated here by Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Monday, is titled Green Kerala Express and is being organised by the Kerala wing of Doordarshan Kendra in association with the ministry of local self government, Suchitwa Mission and the state-owned Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT).

Assistant director of Doordarshan Kendra G. Sajan told IANS that the preliminary screening of all applications submitted by these village councils are over and the shooting for the show will begin Monday.

‘Around 200 village councils from across the state had applied out of which a technical jury selected 150. The programme begins with a five member team of each council appearing before an expert panel and a technical jury to present their development achievement,’ said Sajan.

These councils will appear before the jury with a two minute documentary in video format on their council and another four minute documentary on what they think has been their best development project.

‘Once both these videos are screened, then queries are raised by the expert panel and the technical jury. It will go on for 20 minutes. While marks would be given by these juries, an SMS poll would also be open for the people to express their opinion. After evaluating all the 150 councils, the top 15 would be selected. Then the jury will individually go to these 15 selected councils and make an on the spot assessment and the winners would be announced,’ added Sajan.

The performance of these councils would be aired on Doordarshan for half an hour as the Green Kerala Express show starting March 1 till July from Monday to Friday.

The three member expert panel comprises South Indian actress Padma Priya (special invitee), former Centre for Development Studies director K.P. Kannan and Vineetha Menon, a professor at the Kannur University.

The technical panel of the jury includes experts in the field of local level development and those who have worked extensively with various agencies at the grassroot level.

The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.one crore for the best council and other cash prizes for the runner ups also.

The organisers have also decided to have a national jury with P. Sainath (award winning Indian development journalist), Aruna Roy (Indian political and social activist), Rajendra Singh (Ramon Magsaysay Award winner for community leadership in 2001) and Planning Commission member Mihir Shah, who would also sit as judges occasionally.

‘Yes, our next project would be to extend this reality show to the whole of the country and for that we need to have opinions from people who are national experts and hence we have invited these top level experts,’ added Sajan.

The programme got a huge boost when state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac extended a financial support of Rs.three crore for the reality show.

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