39 institutions apply for licences for community radio project

NEW DELHI: Though the much-touted community radio project till now is a non-starter, the government today said that 39 institutions, including universities, have applied for licences.

Out of the applications received, those from Jammu University, Kashmir University in Srinagar, New Light in Keonjhar and Buldana Urban Charitable Society of Buldana have not been found eligible for grant of licence as per the laid down guidelines, information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Rajya Sabha (Upper House) today.

The minister also ruled out any review of the policy despite limited response to the community radio scheme, which former I&B minister Sushma Swaraj had said would "revolutionise" radio broadcast in the country.

A big impediment is the cumbersome process, over laden with clearance from over 30 government agencies. This has been a deterring factor.

The largest number of application for licences for community radio service (six), has been received from the states of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. In U.P. two branches of City Montessori School in Lucknow have also sought permission to start a radio service.

The least number of applications (one), have been received from Gujarat (Sardar Patel University), Punjab, Orissa and Nagaland. New Light of Orissa's application has been found ineligible, anyway.

Though any community radio service was yet get off the ground, India's pubcaster Doordarshan has given some limited time to non-governmental organisations on a low powered transmitter for community radio service in Delhi.

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