Frederick Noronha (FN) on Thu, 30 Mar 2006 09:20:40 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Bihar radio man's station shut down

Bihar radio man's station shut down
By Imran Khan, Indo-Asian News Service

Patna, March 27 (IANS) A popular rural radio station in Bihar
has turned silent after the authorities closed it down
because its owner, a poor and illiterate man, did not possess
an operating licence.

The Radio Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1 channel, beaming from
Mansoorpur village in Vaishali district for the past three
years, was closed down Sunday for running illegally - to the
disappointment of hundreds of people who loved to tune into

"The Radio Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1 was closed for violating
the Indian Telegraphs Act," Sanjeev Hans, the Vaishali
district magistrate, told IANS over telephone Monday.

A formal police complaint has also been lodged against the
owner, Raghav Mahto, and the equipment seized, said Hans. A
three-member team of the union communications and IT
ministry, which visited the village Sunday, seized the radio
equipment, said Hans.

"The team seized the antenna and other equipment used by
Mahto to run his radio station," he said.

The trouble for Raghav Radio started early this month when
the district administration directed local officials to
submit a report on the private radio station. The government
sought a report on it after the story of Mahto's successful
radio station was splashed in the national and international

The union communications ministry sought information on the
station and directed that action be taken if it was found to
be running without a licence.

But locals are upset over the closing down of the station.
The villagers said they would protest the action and demand
that the station be revived.

The 20-something Mahto had admitted to this correspondent
earlier that he was not aware that a licence was required
till he was informed last month that it was illegal to run a
private radio station.

He said then that he did not have enough money for a licence
fee. "I don't even have the money for medical treatment of my
father who is suffering from cancer."

While the government considers him an offender for violating
the rules, for the people residing in and around Mansoorpur
village he is a hero. People prefer Radio Raghav to the
national channels and Mahto is more popular than the local
legislator and MP.

The station was running like a community radio service
providing local news and views in the local dialect and
entertainment for the villages in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali and
Saran districts.

Apart from Hindi songs and news, it would provide information
about crimes in the area, programmes on AIDS awareness, polio
eradication, on literacy initiatives and news about missing
people as well as local functions and festivals. But free of

Mahto, who has an electronics repair shop at Gudri Bazar near
Mansoorpur and loves tinkering with old equipment, had
stumbled upon his innovation by chance.

He said he would love to run his radio station again if he
gets government clearance or help from people. "If someone
helps me I will go for it again."

Indo-Asian News Service

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