TEZPUR, Dec 15 - The casual announcers of AIR, Tezpur have strongly opposed the plan of Prasar Bharati to downgrade AIR, Tezpur from a regional station to a relay station of AIR, Guwahati.
Urging the government to refrain from executing such a move, the aggrieved casual announcers mentioned that Tezpur station is the only radio station in the north bank of the Brahmaputra which broadcasts in Assamese.
�It is a radio station of national and regional interest. From the commissioning of this station on July 1, 2000, it has been serving the people of erstwhile undivided Sonitpur district and nearby areas of adjacent districts. Prasar Bharati is now contemplating to downgrade the status of this station along with AIR, Dibrugarh to relay stations of AIR, Guwahati under re-branding of AIR stations scheme.�
They urged the authority not to downgrade AIR�s Tezpur regional station to a relay station of AIR, Guwahati. The announcers also maintained that AIR, Tezpur is the only government-owned public service broadcasting station near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border which faced the Chinese aggression in 1962.
�This public service broadcasting station had discharged its duty as a national broadcaster to save the valuable lives of residents in the north bank of the Brahmaputra together with securing the national assets in the same area. Hence, you would agree that AIR, Tezpur has strategic importance. For the same reason, the Govt. of India has established an Indian Armed Force Division and a forward Indian Air Force base in Tezpur. It has played a vital role in times of national crisis as it is the only trusted media in its listening range,� they said.
Further, Assam is situated in a very vulnerable seismic zone and has faced many big earthquakes. Other natural disasters too often plague this region. Man-made disasters compound the problem even further.
In the current pandemic situation due to Covid-19, AIR, Tezpur has been playing a very vital role in helping to contain the infection in Sonitpur and its adjacent districts through vigorous broadcast of awareness programmes, especially in the tea gardens and rural areas.
In Sonitpur and Biswanath districts, there are almost 254 tea gardens whose residents depend on AIR, Tezpur for information on developmental schemes of the government and have benefited from such information disseminated by AIR, Tezpur.
In the north bank of the Brahmaputra, there are multicultural and multilingual ethnic groups like Boro, Mising, Tiwa, Rabha, Nepali etc. AIR, Tezpur has been providing a platform to these communities. Tezpur is the cultural capital of Assam which has nourished cultural icons like Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Natasurjya Phani Sarma, Sahityakandari Padmanath Gohainbaruah and Dr Bhupen Hazarika.
Further, AIR, Tezpur has been doing its best to foster that legacy in collaboration with the Department of Mass Communication and Department of Cultural Studies of Tezpur Central University towards that end. The intelligentsia of Tezpur University have also found a way to help the public of Sonitpur and its adjacent districts at various times through the microphone of AIR, Tezpur.
Promoting creative works for nation-building among the new generation of the same geographical area is another way in which all the departments of the University have always looked up to AIR, Tezpur, i.e., for preserving a large number of folk songs of nearby areas like Mangaldai, Jamuguri, Rowta, Orang, Balipara, Dhekiajuli, Kaliabor, and so on.
Meanwhile, the announcers� fraternity who have submitted a number representations to the agencies concerned have also said that Tezpur has only one transmission, i.e. evening transmission, extension of which has not been possible because of the acute power cut that the station faces, especially during the monsoon season, which should be rectified.
AIR, Tezpur has also created a significant platform for the youth of Sonitpur and its adjacent districts.