NEW DELHI, Jan 17 � In a major boost for the north eastern region, the Centre has cleared 18 new FM channels for the region.
Three channels each will be launched in the six towns of Haflong and Dhubri in Assam, Jowai in Meghalaya, Lung-lei in Mizoram, Mokukchung in Nagaland and Belonia in Tripura. This is in addition to the existing 12 FM channels which are already functional in the North-east, said official sources.
Lauding the initiative, Minister DoNER Dr Jitendra Singh said the new channels are being launched with the special objective of extending the reach and impact of radio to the border areas, where other means of telecast or broadcast are not available.
Radio is still the most easily available and convenient medium of broadcast even in such peripheral areas where television telecast is not accessible and the added advantage is that radio broadcast can be tuned even without electricity, he observed.
The government has a special consideration for these states, said Dr Singh and added that this is evident from the fact that the cut-off population required for introducing an FM channel has been drastically reduced in case of these border areas. Elaborating further, he said that while in Phase-II, the cut-off population was minimum 3 lakh, in Phase-III it is proposed to be one lakh.
In case of the 33 channels to be launched in border towns or cities of J&K and the north eastern states however, the population cut-off could be further reduced.