Environmental activist Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal is set to start a non-profit community radio (CR) that will air programmes on environment and education.
The radio channel is expected to launch by the first week of October after the ministry of information and broadcasting this month granted licence to Ek Onkar Charitable Trust, which is run by Seechwal. The name of the channel will be Avtar Radio and will be available on frequency 90.4 MHz.
Seechewal's associate, Sant Sukhjit Singh, said work on setting up the CR studio at Sant Avtar Singh Ji Yadgari College in Seechewal village of Jalandhar district was in its final stage and would be completed this month. About Rs 16 lakh has been spent on infrastructure.
"We will start testing its launch in October," Sukhjit said. "This is the first time that a radio station will go on air in the rural area of the state. It will be available within a radius of 15km. As Seechewal village is situated in the periphery of the district, on the south side, villages of two adjoining districts, Kapurthala and Moga, will also receive the radio signal. About 60 villages in three districts will come within its range."
"The radio will also be available on the Internet," he said. "Programmes will air from 4am to 10pm everyday. Apart from raising awareness among the rural masses on how to keep their environment clean, programmes on agriculture will also be broadcast. We will invite agricultural experts to discuss new farming techniques, marketing and other aspects."
Sukhjit said in educational programmes, college professors would give lectures on mathematics, English for rural schoolchildren. "This will help economically weaker students, who cannot afford tuition," he added.
Seechewal had earlier cleaned up the polluted Kali Bein rivulet in Kapurthala and launched an agitation against pollution of the Jalandhar sewerage system, especially in the Kala Sanghia drain, by industrial units.