Monday, May 28, 2007

Leh's only radio station neglected

Statesman News Service
JAMMU, MAY 26: Notwithstanding claims of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting having spent crores of rupees on upgradation and improvement in All India Radio stations all across the country, one of India's high altitude stations situated in the difficult and inaccessible mountain terrain of Ladakh is crying out for government attention.

Even when the rest of the world has entered the digital era, the All India Radio, Leh situated in Leh town of Ladakh region, with its 10 KW radio station, has experienced only degradation both in terms of content and reception in the past few years. AIR Leh, installed in 1971, has not been upgraded in terms of power and manpower.

The apathy and neglect by the government has forced a top Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, executive councillor for education, art & culture Mr. Tsewang Rigzin, - to write to the top officials of the I& B ministry including its minister Mr Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, Director General, All India Radio, but sadly till date, there has been no response from their side.

In a rugged terrain, where one can hardly have the luxury of watching television, AIR Leh has been the only medium of entertainment in Ladakh and people of Leh Ladakh have relied upon this radio station for years for news, especially Ladakh's own bulletin, programmes on health, education, religion, science etc.

"People of Leh, are very proud to be Indians, and most of it is because of the patriotic programmes that AIR has reached to even the remotest areas of Ladakh in the last few decades," said Mr Rigzin informing that even the poorest Ladakhi owns a radio set.

But what is sad is that the listeners don't receive Leh radio signals either on shortwave or on medium wave after 6 p.m. The shortwave reception in the border areas like Changthang, Nubra and Sham has worsened since November last year. "I fear that the bad reception of Leh radio on the border might lead people to listen to the programmes broadcast by the high-powered stations from across the borders," said Mr Rigzin adding Ladakhis who are up in arms against I&B ministry, want immediate upgradation of Leh AIR station. Moreover, Leh is an important place from the strategic point of view having borders with Pakistan in the West and China in the East.
(Source: Alokesh Gupta, India; Mukesh Kumar, India)