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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEmpowering rural folk

Empowering rural folk

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Empowering rural folk
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Radio is making a comeback! In an age of FM radio stations, the quote is a reality. But, it does not mean that the golden age of radio is back. In the earlier days, Akashavani or AM radios had played an instrumental role in creating awareness among rural people through its rural network coverage. It was like a blood relationship among them. There was a time when people used to wake up hearing the Akasavani stations.

For anyone who doesn’t satisfy with the new age radios, anyone who remembers when a radio was something that gathered the people around, Young India in Konark has a unique idea - empowering rural people through community radio.

‘Radio Namaskar’ is the first community radio of Odisha set up by ‘Young India’, a civil society organization. The theme, ‘promoting the voice of voiceless’ itself resonates the role of this community radio in rural empowerment. They wanted to do something which was ignored by the mainstream media and that is what they are doing now in rural Odisha.

Located in the historic Konark city in Odisha, the amenities at the radio station include a studio, administrative office and visitor’s room. In other terms, the less number of amenities do not constrain them in doing their mission of addressing the issues of rural people.

“We are now six employees including a Programme executive, assistant executive editor and three copy editors’, said Biswanath, an employee at the radio station.

The station went on air from February 2010. Most of the programmes are in Oriya and aired at 90.4 MHz in FM frequency. The main aim of Radio Namaskar is to promote communication link among the proposed villages to develop an environment that will ensure flow of information and access to all amenities.

The programmes of the radio have been divided into four sections including local governance, food security, women in front and youth for development. The impact of their efforts was visible within a few months of its launch. At a time, farmers were not aware about the MOPOKHARI scheme (NREGS), so that they did not apply for the scheme. ‘Radio Namaskar’ decided to do something to make the people aware of it. The community radio aired an announcement regarding MO POKHARI scheme in the first week of March 2010 as per the suggestion of BDO, Gop Block. Surprisingly, the block administration, soon after this, received 123 applications from the rural farmers of different GPs of Gop Block. The block administration issued about 97 work orders following it.

“We provide a medium to give vent to the aspirations, concerns and communication needs of the local community that are otherwise overlooked by the mainstream media,” said N A Shah Ansari, President, Young India. They also intend to promote a group of trained and organized youths or women from target group who will sustain the momentum of this project.

(The writer can be contacted at muhsinm.cmr@gmail.com)

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