Uttarakhand’s all-women community radio is all ready to go on air on September 21, after seven years of struggle for permission to start the broadcast.
The radio station, named Mandakini Ki Awaz, set up in Bhaduj village of Rudraprayag district, will be the state’s biggest station in terms of coverage area.
There are seven community radio stations in the state with 10 to 12 kilometres of coverage area. But, Mandakini Ki Awaz will cover 20 kilometres radius on the hills, covering 2 lakh people across Rudraprayag, Pauri, Tehri and Chamoli districts, making it the biggest in Uttarakhand.
The project was initiated in 2007, but it couldn’t be implemented for want of the Central government’s permission for broadcast.
It got the nod in December 2013. However, there is a reason for the late start-- It took nine-odd months to train local girls and women into radio operations, says Saritha Thomas, who is the founder of People's Power Collective and a moving spirit behind making the radio a reality.
It would be an interactive, informative and inspiring revolution of sorts for the hill women and villagers, she says, adding, it can prove to be a major help in disaster management too.
Manvendra Singh Negi, a key member of Mandakini Ki Awaz Kalyan Sewa Samiti (MAKSS), says people in the hilly areas of have not been able to access information about government schemes and policies in the absence of an information provider.” But, they will have it all now, he says.
Mandakini Ki Awaz will be a platform for local artists too. “We already have a good collection of melodious voices of those who are no more with us," says Devilal, another MAKSS member.