New Delhi: Sanjay Agarwal, a member of the ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ newspaper’s founding family, has objected to the expansion of the publication in Patna and Ranchi, citing family agreements.
The Hindi newspaper, which ranks second in readership in India, is run by DB Corp. Ltd.
The planned launch in the capitals of Bihar and Jharkhand states doesn’t have his approval, Agarwal said at a press conference in the Capital on Friday. Decisions on new editions require the “mutual consent” of family members, he said.
Based on this objection, district magistrates in Ranchi and Patna have issued a show-cause notice to DB Corp., he said. A reply is expected next week, Agarwal said.
A DB Corp official, who asked not to be named, said the company has registered for the launch of the paper in both states. It launched editions in Punjab and Haryana as well even though objections had been raised against the move, he said.
Girish Agarwal, director, DB Corp., who was travelling, could not be reached for comments. His office did not revert on queries sent by Mint.
On 25 March, DB Corp. announced “its proposed launch of new edition of Dainik Bhaskar in Jammu, Jharkhand and Bihar as part of the company’s growth and expansion plans”.
Agarwal, who runs and owns the ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ edition in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, said he will allow the launch if he is involved in the company’s affairs. “We will go to court if required,” he said.
‘Hindustan’, the Hindi-language newspaper published by Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd, has the largest readership base in Bihar. Hindustan Media Ventures is a unit of HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint and ‘Hindustan Times’. Hindustan Media Ventures will raise Rs300 crore through an initial public offering to fund its expansion plan.
Bhaskar’s entry into the northern states will give it wider reach, an analyst said. “For print players, Bihar and Jharkhand are both emerging markets and ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ will consolidate its position in the Hindi belt by tapping these two markets, which will strengthen their revenue and media reach,” said Janardan Pandey, business director of Mudra Group’s media specialist agency, Radar.