Bihar farmers to get first community radio station

By Imran Khan, IANS,

Patna : After Jharkhand, it is now the turn of thousands of farmers in rural Bihar to swing to the tunes of the community radio station. It will inform and educate them about agriculture to social issues and different government schemes for them.

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Decks have been cleared for setting up the community radio station, the first for farmers in Bihar, following clearance by the central government and approval of funding for it.

“Bihar will set up its first community radio station for farmers to inform and educate them,” Bihar Agriculture Minister Nagmani said here.

He said that centre had cleared the setting up of a low power transmitter for the community radio station under the Media Support to Agricultural Extension programme. “The broadcasting will start soon,” he said.

Nagmani, who uses one name, said the state government had submitted a proposal to set up four community radio stations but the centre had approved only one at present. “The government plans to approach the centre again in this connection,” he said.

Last year the state government had sent the proposal to set up community radio stations for farmers at Barh in Patna district, Hajipur in Vaishali district, Samastipur and Jamui districts.

“The first community radio station is likely to be set up in Samastipur, a hub of agriculture and horticulture,” an official in the agriculture ministry told IANS.

The station will transmit to a radius of around 20 km. Initially it will air two to three hours’ programme a day. The programmes will be made in the local language to attract more farmers. “Programmes on community radio would be made to educate and inform farmers,” Nagmani said.

Community radio is expected to play a positive role in enhancing agriculture development in Bihar. “It will tell farmers how to cope with natural calamities, management of land, water and pesticides in farming and to adopt new methods to increase their earning,” Nagmani said.

According to the World Bank report ‘Bihar – Towards a Development Strategy’, nearly 90 percent of the state’s 83 million people live in villages and depend directly or indirectly on agriculture.