Jha meets I&B minister, bats for local FMs
Bihar information and public relations minister Sanjay Kumar Jha on Sunday met union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur and drew his attention towards the unregulated and unbridled round-the-clock programming from strong FM and other frequencies in Nepal, which is accessible in the adjoining districts of Bihar.
“These programmes have an overwhelming reach among the populace of several north Bihar districts. It would be effective to address the situation by expanding the reach, intensity, quality and appeal of local programmes using the existing breach of All India Radio stations in north Bihar. Maithili is an official language spoken by over 33 million people of the region and that can be used to reach more and more people with quality programmes to provide the people with an alternative,” he wrote to the union minister.
Jha said that he has also underlined the need for increasing the duration of local programmes in Maithili on 10 kW FM frequency to reach out to a large population, as Nepalese programmes are also broadcast in the same language and also in Nepali.
Jha’s concerns are significant as even during elections, FM stations in Nepal are known for even carrying the content through advertisements related to elections and candidates contesting them.
The Nepalese FM channels are favoured because they come cheap, offer a wide range of choices and cover more than 100 constituencies., as Bihar has a 750-km long border with Nepal.
In 2019, the Center had approved seven projects for setting up FM transmitters in the premises of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) to strengthen FM coverage along the Indo-Nepal border. These included Bathnaha (Araria), Narkatiaganj (West Champaran) and Sitamarhi in Bihar.
Highlighting the Centre’s thrust on popularising community radio networks in the country, Jha said that it could be immensely helpful for Bihar, especially in the wake of the strides Bihar has made on several key social and development indicators. Alongside, Bihar has a thriving network of social entrepreneurial initiatives ranging from agriculture, rural development to women empowerment. It thus seems most expedient to synergize such significant changes at the grassroots with the potential of community radio to enhance future opportunities for our youth, women and children,” he added, urging the union minister for the upgrade of the infrastructure in the interest of enhancing programming quality and reach in the region.