Prasar Bharati not closing any Akashvani radio station in India: Anurag Thakur

There have been concerns over the closure of radio stations across different parts of the country.

Mumbai: Prasar Bharati is not closing any Akashvani radio station in India, the minister of information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur told the Parliament on Tuesday. Thakur was responding to concerns regarding the closure of radio stations across different parts of the country that have been in the news for the last couple of years.

Prasar Bharati has issued a clarification on false reporting and fake news claiming closure of AIR stations on several occasions earlier. Speaking in the Parliament, Thakur once again elaborated that “obsolete analog transmitters are phased out from time to time with the availability of alternate transmission technologies such as FM, satellite radio through DTH and internet streaming.”

“Further, content reforms are undertaken from time to time to ensure that the national, regional and local services of Akashvani serve diversity of content, while optimally leveraging the scarce resources, giving opportunity to local talent and improving quality without duplication of content. The operational expenditure of these services is being met through the Internal and Extra Budgetary Resources (IEBR) of Prasar Bharati,” he stated.

Thakur also told the Parliament that the government has approved schemes for setting up of Frequency Modulation (FM) transmitters in Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) premises at seven locations along the Indo-Nepal Border including SSB premises at Narkatiaganj in West Champaran District in the State of Bihar.

On FM stations and community radio stations, Thakur further said that Prasar Bharati has 523 FM transmitters located at 483 All India Radio (AIR) stations across the country. Under the policy guidelines on the expansion of FM radio broadcasting service through private agencies (phase-III), MIB grants FM radio license to private companies registered in India under the Companies Act, 2013.

The private FM radio phase-III policy being city-centric provides for setting up of FM radio stations in all cities having a population above one lakh unless it is getting covered from an adjacent city. Further 11 cities in border areas of UT of Jammu & Kashmir, UT of Ladakh and the North East states having a population less than one lakh have also been approved for setting up FM radio stations.

Under FM phase-III, the government has approved to the auction of 683 channels in 236 cities.

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