Today, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista met with Hon’ble Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar ji to inform him about the significance of Kurseong Radio Station, and the need to upgrade the existing SW Transmitter to DRM transmitter.
On the 30th of July, 2019 a notice had been issued by Directorate General, All India Radio ordering the shutting down of 21 non-functional Short Wave transmitters, among which SW Transmitter in Kurseong was one.
Following this, staff members from AIR Kurseong had approached MP Bista through GJM Working President Shri. Lobsang Lama and had shared with him their concerns regarding the impact such an order could have on India’s only fully dedicated Nepali language AIR Station.
MP Bista informed the Hon’ble Minister that AIR Kurseong is the only radio station in the country that runs most of its program in Nepali, a language listed under the VIIIth Schedule of our constitution. MP Bista impressed upon Hon’ble Javadekar ji that while he supported the need for shutting down non-functional SW transmitters, however Kurseong’s SW Transmitter was fully functional and was providing service among the listeners from remote rural areas to listeners spread as far as Australia.
He also highlighted how shutting down of the SW transmitter will not only hamper the relay of information but given that our region is right next to China, in terms of National Security too it could pose a risk to remove the SW Transmitter without putting any alternatives in place.
He requested the Hon’ble Minister to:
The Hon’ble Minister listened to the requests made by MP Bista and made a note of all the issues raised. He assured MP Bista that Kurseong Radio Station will continue to broadcast programs.
Reacting to the development, MP Bista said, “Since its inception in 1962, Kurseong AIR has contributed immensely to integrate the Nepali-speaking people with the rest of the nation. In our region, people consider AIR Kurseong station as part of our cultural heritage and this station has huge sentimental value and goodwill among the Nepali-speaking communities around the world. This station played a vital role in relaying information and keeping people updated during the 1962 Indo-China war. So we need to make sure that this station continues to broadcast at its full capacity.”
He added, “Because Darjeeling is a high mountain region, the reach of an FM transmitter is very limited, whereas SW transmitter helps reach all important information to the masses. Most of the people in rural Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts listen to all important information and programs, including PM Narendra Modi’s Maanki Baat using SW radio transmission. I have therefore requested Javadekar ji to replace the existing SW transmitter with a new and modern 300KW DRM Transmitter, this way AIR Kurseong will be able to reach a much wider audience internationally.”
He added, “I will do my best to work towards converting AIR Kurseong into an Earth Station, this way their programs can be broadcast via all digital platforms, and it will help our Nepali language singers, songwriters, dramatists, artists, poets, storytellers and others to reach a much wider audience internationally.”