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Community Radio will prove helpful in Disaster Sensitive Uttarakhand

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Dehradun: In association with the State Disaster Management Authority and the Disaster Mitigation and Management Center with the support of the Ideosync Media Combine, a day-long workshop on “Community Radio for Mass Awareness and Disaster Risk Reduction” was organized at a local hotel in Dehradun on Monday.

The purpose of the workshop was to invite and encourage people interested in establishing community radio stations in the far-flung areas of the state, by giving them grants from the state government and to provide the information related to public awareness, emergency information and various developmental schemes to the community and remote areas.

Welcoming the participants and guest speakers in the workshop, Secretary Disaster Management Amit Negi apprised that in view of the increasing frequency of disasters, intensity and dramatic changes in the results, the Disaster Risk Reduction has become a necessity of the world.

 

Negi said that the problem of communicating resources in Disaster Risk Reduction has its own importance and when it is related to the heterogeneous geography of Uttarakhand, then the role of community radio cannot be denied. He said that there is a lot of participation and involvement of the people’s community in the programmes being broadcasted from these stations, so it is necessary to establish them the aim of bringing a positive social change in the society.

It is worth noting that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India has simplified its community radio licensing policy, so that local institutions, universities, civil society, voluntary institutions and non-government organizations come forward to establish the community radio station. He said that community radio stations will be encouraged by the state government.

Highlighting the purpose and theme of the workshop, Additional Secretary Savin Bansal said that apart from the establishment of new community radio stations in the state, encouraging the activities of already operated radio stations and making them economically independent is the main objective behind the workshop. He said that not only limiting the community radio stations to self-help groups and non-governmental organizations, it would also be useful for the Universities and Colleges of Kumaon and Garhwal running Mass Commissions courses. Bansal said that the efforts being made by local radio were quite successful. Through the radio, rural farmers and other poor sections can communicate their message to the community and the government.

Mr. Ramesh Bhatt, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister, who was present as a special guest, highlighted the multidimensional use of community radio. He described community radio as the appropriate source of real time decimation. With the promotion of all achievements of all the departments, activities and other related advertisements through community radio, setting up of 60 -70 Community Radio Cells in every state assembly segment has been strongly recommended by him.

 

Mr. Bhatt assured that in view of the state’s geographical conditions, he would get financial support from the Chief Minister to empower the community radio stations. He expected from the managers of community radio stations to circulate more information about the government’s schemes and information before and after the disaster among the people of the state in a more effective manner.

Disaster Mitigation and Management Center Dr. Piyush Rautela highlighting the need for traditional knowledge of the state and community radio on Disaster Risk Reduction in the special perspective of Uttarakhand. Dr. Rautela said that under the community radio station promotion policy, the state government will grant 30 per cent of the total project cost to the interested institutions and organizations up to a maximum of five lakh rupees. In the policy, priority is given to radio stations in remote areas and it has been made mandatory to get the established resources insured for disaster. Prior to receiving the grant, the radio stations have to give certificates of the land and buildings for complying with the disaster safety standards.

 

He said that for maintaining the financial independence of radio stations and maintaining their continuity, a fixed portion of the budget allocation for various schemes of the Central and State Government will be kept for them. These radio stations will give priority to the emergency information in their programmes, failing which the recommendation for cancellation of licenses of related radio station can be done.

In the workshop, Ideosync Media Combine Executive Director N. Ramakrishnan provided information on the situation, policy, establishment, budget arrangement, training of community radio stations in India’s special perspective.

 

He told that community radio is the appropriate resource for the people. A documentary was also screened on this occasion. Former Advisor, Community Radio, Commonwealth Educational Media Center Rukmani Vemaraju expressed her thoughts were expressed on “The purpose of community radio and the understanding its philosophy”.

In the workshop, representatives of Henvalvani, Radioa Luit, North-East, Mann Deshi Tarang Vahini, Radio Namaskar, Waqt Ki Awaaz shared their success stories and experiences with the participants from the open forum.

 

The station director of the state’s oldest community radio station, Henvalvani expressed that this is a good initiative of the government, so that people will be able to share their problems and important information while living in far-flung areas. They will be given full support by the government.

State Disaster Counter Force, Forest, Public Relations Society of India, Information and Public Relations Department, Police, School Education, Public Works Department, Irrigation, Food and Civil Supplies, Civil Society, office bearers of NGOs, teachers and students of various schools participated in the workshop.

 

Suggestions were taken to improve the community radio policy of Uttarakhand from all the departments in the workshop so that more and more people could join this campaign and in the case of disaster, setting up more and more community radio in far-flung areas to connect with the people of these areas.