Fazilka district got a 20kW FM radio transmitter on Friday, a much-awaited facility that will not only cater to the region but also 36 lakh Pakistanis across the border.
The transmitter, equipped with a 16-panel FM antenna, was inaugurated by Union minister for social justice and empowerment Vijay Sampla. The broadcast will be available on 100.8MHz.
The transmitter, mounted on a 300m-high Doordarshan tower, believed to be the country’s highest and Asia’s second-highest tower, was installed on the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The radio service will relay programmes such as Krishi Vigyan (farm science) will cover an 80-km radius and also penetrate 68 km deep inside the Indo-Pak border along Fazilka.
The transmitter, which will be controlled by AIR Bathinda, will, however, be the first All India radio (AIR) FM transmitter that will exclusively carry AIR Urdu service for the people of both sides of the border area.
Pak main worry
Sampla, who was accompanied by Fazilka MP Sher Singh Ghubaya and state health minister and local MLA Surjit Kumar Jyani, said the radio will help the natives of the region listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s favourite ‘Mann Ki Baat’ series.
But the minister was particularly happy that the transmission will counter Pakistan’s “ill-publicity” through radio.
The Doordarshan Relay Centre, Fazilka, was established in 1996 following repeated appeals by local residents to counter the anti-India propaganda launched by Pakistan.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had approved the relay centre in 1988, but its construction was marred by delay due to lack of funds, non-availability of skilled workers, and the death of nearly 12 labourers during the construction. The transmission finally began in 2007.
Many believe the FM radio service will now allow the relay centre to be put to optimum use.
With the change of guard at the Centre last year, Jyani had take up the issue of the FM service with his party high command.