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A radio service for the blind, by the blind

india Updated: Dec 21, 2010 14:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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In a unique initiative, Dehradun would start a first-of-its-kind FM radio service for the visually impaired.

This new initiative, proposed by National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Dehradun, the apex body in the field of education and rehabilitation of the visually handicapped in India under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is expected to start within 15 days. A group of 15-20 partially and completely visually impaired members would run the radio station.

"The radio will be launched on January 4, the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, inventor of embossed reading and writing system for visually disabled. The institute has already converted all it's existing collection of more than 30,000 cassettes with the help of DAISY player software which helps visually impaired," said Jagdish Lakheda, training and placement officer of NIVH while talking to HT on Monday.

Lakheda was in the city to participate in a workshop conducted for the visually impaired.

The FM will have a frequency of 25 km, he said and added that the institute is also planning to launch a radio course for the visually impaired in Dehradun. The concept for this new initiative took shape five years back, but it started evolving as a separate unit one-year back, he said.

The shows, which NIVH has already recorded for radio have already been distributed in a CD among the visually impaired students free of cost and among the institutions all over the country to check whether students are liking the shows or not.

"The shows will be informational, recreational and educational. Drama, poems, folk stories have also been included in the service and if this service gets success in Dehradun, the institution has planned to open its next FM radio station in some cities of South India," said Lakheda.

Elaborating about the institute, he said, "In NIVH, we have country's only National Talking Book Library for the visually handicapped which is fulfilling the intellectual needs of the visually impaired in the country. The library possesses more than 3,876 audio titles and more than 30,000 audiocassettes in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. The institute library was planning to go digital in the coming months.