The government will shortly set up FM radio services at the India-Nepal border in Bihar to counter the popularity Nepali channels enjoy in the region.
This comes soon after it moved to buttress the strength of Indian radio and television signals along the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government last week cleared a proposal to set up FM radio relay centres in Bihar’s border districts of Bettiah, Motihari and Madhubani.
Nepali FM radio is very popular in the villages of these districts. “People are not able to tune in to Indian radio stations, but they are able to connect to Nepalese radio stations easily,” explained an official.
Security agencies have twice warned the government that Nepali FM stations could be misused by Maoists — or even Pak militants — for anti-India propaganda.
The information and broadcasting ministry recently approved expenditure of R100 crore to strengthen Indian transmission signals at the J&K border. “We need to be sure our signals are strong enough, and that they are stronger than anything beamed from the other side,” said a ministry official.
Apart from improving transmission and transformer capacity at the border, the ministry has also asked Doordarshan and AIR officials to plan and mount programmes on a regular basis to counter any foreign misinformation campaign, a senior intelligence official said.