An orientation meet on Community Radio Station (CRS) was held at Dibrugarh from 15th to 17th July 2009 for C-NES’ upcoming Unicef supported project of setting up of a Community Radio Station (CRS) in Dibrugarh. The meeting was attended by 9 C-NES staff including Sanjay Sarma, Associate Program Manager, Manik Boruah, Assistant Programme Manager, Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer, Bhaskar Bhuyan, the newly appointed Programme Coordinator (CRS), Amrit Borah, District Community Organizer(DCO) Dibrugarh, Hiranya Deka, DCO, Tinsukia and Juri Gogoi, Educational Coordinator along with Sanjay and Santosh Yadav, community workers of the Boat Clinic programme . Representatives from Unicef included Supriya Mukherjee, Programme Communication Specialist from New Delhi and Pinaki Halder, Programme Communication Officer, Guwahati. N Ramakrishnan from the Faridabad based Ideosync Media Combine was the main resource person for the meeting which witnessed an active participation from the C-NES team.
Defining community radio as a “radio for the people, of the people and by the people”, Mr Ramakrishnan said that community radio has democratized mass media the world over. Radio is the main source of news and entertainment for most of India as it is comparatively cheaper and portable and community radio promises to be closest to the people by catering to the interests of a certain area, broadcasting material that is popular, in local dialect to a local audience. He said that only organizations that are registered for a minimum of three years and with a ‘proven’ track record of local community service can apply for CRS and C-NES would be thus be an ideal organization, having established a creditable presence in the Dibrugarh saporis, working with the community on health, education, livelihood and other related issues over the past four years.
Speaking at the meet, Supriya Mukherjee said that community radio in India has many advantages over AIR and private FM programmes being nearly always in local languages dealing with local issues involving the community. Just hearing themselves on radio is an empowering experience for people, who realize that this, truly, can be their voice and help them get a better deal from the government..
Mr. Pinaki Halder was of the opinion that the radio station, when set up, will benefit the communities of the saporis as well as the tea tribe communities inhabiting the nearby areas of Dibrugarh and felt that C-NES would be an ideal partner for Unicef in this endevour as well, like the earlier ones on health and education in the Dibrugarh saporis. The CRS will also function as extended arms of dissemination of the national flagship programmes such as National Rural Health Mission, Sarba Shiksha Abhiyan and Total Sanitation campaign. The local community which is isolated would thus get largely benefited and find itself involved in happenings in the areas of education, health, sports and entertainment.
The Deputy Commissioner of Dibrugarh, Mr. G D Tripathi accompanied the group on a visit to selected sites for the station on July 16th where Local Panchayat and Anchalik Parishad presidents were also present. The site selection, governed by specific regulations, has not yet been finalized but the process is expected to be complete in the near future.