New Delhi: The government has approved 18 new FM radio channels for North Eastern states and 15 for Jammu and Kashmir.
Announcing this, Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh said the initiative was a New Year gift for the eight North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir.
In North-East, three channels each will be launched in six towns — Haflong and Dhubri in Assam, Jowai in Meghalaya, Lung-lei in Mizoram, Mokukchung in Nagaland, and and Belonia in Tripura. This is in addition to the existing 12 FM channels which are already functional in the Northeast.
Of the 15 FM channels to be launched in Jammu & Kashmir, three each will be in Kathua and Bhaderwah. Of the remaining nine channels, three each will be in Kargil, Leh and Poonch.
Singh said the new channels are being launched with the special objective of extending the reach and impact of radio to the border areas where other means of telecast or broadcast are not available.
Radio is still the most easily available and convenient medium of broadcast in such peripheral areas where television telecast is not accessible and the added advantage is that radio broadcast can be tuned even without electricity.
Singh said the government has a special consideration for these states and this is evident from the fact that the cut-off population required for introducing an FM channel has been drastically reduced in case of these border areas.
Elaborating,, he said while in Phase-II, the cut-off population was minimum 3 lakh, in Phase-III it is proposed to be one lakh. In case of the 33 channels to be launched in border towns or cities of North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, the population cut-off could be further reduced.
Hailing this decision as an outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special emphasis and concern for these regions, Singh thanked Finance Minister and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley for having taken a liberal view of the proposal and helped in the process of Phase-III FM Channels.
Singh, as Minister for DoNER as well as an MP from Jammu and Kashmir, has also urged upon the concerned ministries to install these proposed channels with a higher frequency compared to the already existing channels so that they can better broadcast services in the border areas.
These channels may, however, not be permitted to put out their own news broadcasts and in case the news has to be broadcast, it will be taken from the All India Radio (Akashvani), he said.