Hello, Gurgaon! City’s other half speaking | india | Hindustan Times
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Hello, Gurgaon! City’s other half speaking

Gurgaon ki awaaz Rural population gets its own FM station, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2010 00:46 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

Amrit Beriwal, 23, had little hope of getting an employment till recently.

A school dropout from Sarai Alalwardi village near New Palam Vihar in Gurgaon, Haryana, he had been wandering no regular income till he joined Gurgaon’s local FM radio station.

Now, he works as a reporter with the radio station and is all set to get married on February 16.

“My parents are happy that I work with a radio station and do all sorts of jobs that a professional reporters do,” said Beriwal.

Gurgaon ki Awaaz is that and much more for the people of Gurgaon who went unheard till now.

At 107.8 MHz, the low-cost round the clock FM radio station broadcasts folk songs, bhajans, group chats and other programmes recorded on field or at the studio by the local folks.

For people like Beriwal — women, school dropouts, college students and folk artists —it is an opportunity to earn fame and identity.

Sharmila Devi, an associate with St. Stephen’s Hospital, was unheard of till last November.

The wife of a farmer and mother of three children, she now knows editing and recording and has walked from one village to another village to reach the underprivileged women and children.

She interviews village people, musicians and women and records cultural programmes for the radio.

The station is being supported by The Restoring Force (TRF), an NGO that works in government schools of Gurgaon district in the area of infrastructure enhancement and career counseling.

“We are into round-the-clock broadcasting to a community that has remained voiceless throughout the transformation of Gurgaon from a sleepy cluster of villages 20 years ago to Millennium City,” said Arti Jaiman, the project manager of TRF.

“It is the only civil society-led community radio station in the National Capital Region and provides a platform to the marginalised, especially communities living in villages for whom the gloss and glamour of malls and glass-fronted office buildings is simply a testament of the uneven development that has taken place in this town,” said Jaiman.

The radio station is run in a two room station-cum-studio. The walls of the studio are covered with egg-trays to make them echo-proof.

It covers villages in 12 km of radius.

Brij Mohan Vaish, founder-president of TRF, said: “The community radio takes our career counselling initiatives to thousands of children whom we cannot reach otherwise.”

“The radio promises to be a powerful medium for the local community to voice its own needs and desires, and raise questions about issues that most affect their lives.”

“If TRF can achieve this, then I would consider our community radio project a success,” he said.