Nepal One ready for launch in an hour

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Intrepid television journalist Nalini Singh's Nepal One is ready for launch around 4.45 pm.

The Nepalese Hindi entertainment channel with a focus on entertainment and news and current affairs will kick off with coverage of the imminent US attack on Iraq. 

"Probably we are the only entertainment channel in the world that will make its debut by starting off with a studio discussion on the Gulf war with former army personnel, including army generals and Gurkhas who have served during wars in the past," Singh told in Delhi just an hour before the proposed launch, sounding exhausted, but excited. 

Singh also said the Gulf War has given them a chance to establish the credentials of the channels that will have a mix of programming and "what better way to start than to air an issue that is being followed avidly in the region." However, the war situations may affect the quality of transmission from Thaicom 3 satellite around 6 p.m. IST, Singh added. 

Nepal One, which is being uplinked from India and will primarily target Nepal cable homes and people of Nepalese origin in India, is a brainchild of Singh's company, TV Live India.

The permission for uplinking from the Indian government was sought sometime in November last and the permission came through last month. The channel is beamed via the Thaicom 3 satellite and uplinked from Delhi, Singh said.

Nepal One is scheduled to have a mix of music, entertainment and news and current affairs programming, including Nepalese and Hindi films to attract viewers in Nepal and across the border in India in places like the North-East. The channel would also have some programming in Bhojpuri language. 

Asked by whether the Indian government's policy decision on channels desirous of uplinking from India and the 26 per cent FDI cap affect Nepal One, Singh replied in the negative. 

"We understand the situation well. Since ours is a wholly-owned Indian company, we don't fall within the ambit of the policy on uplinking. But in future if we want to get in some non-Indian investment into the company, then we'll have to apply afresh to the government for uplinking," Singh said. However, she refused to give any details on the financing of the channel. There were some speculation in the media that one of the funders may be a Nepalese businessman.

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Nalini Singh's Nepalese-Hindi channel to launch in March 

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