Koraput (Odisha): Set up with an aim to focus on rural developmental issues and provide a forum to villagers to air their concerns, Dhimsa FM radio station situated at Chhapar village of Umri Panchayat in Odisha's Koraput district is something unique.

Representational Picture
Representational Picture

Established by SOVA, a voluntary organisation, the FM station was inaugurated by Unicef's deputy representative (programmes) to India, Henriette Ahrens in presence of Koraput district Collector, Jaya Kumar V on Tuesday.

'The idea behind setting up the station was to focus on rural development issues related to food sovereignty, organic farming, women's health, children's problem and to disseminate information on various government schemes," said Sanjit Patnaik, Secretary of SOVA.

The FM station also aims to provide a platform to the rural residents for airing their concern and to promote local artists, he said. The station with one studio to record programmes and one 50-watt FM transmitter with coverage radius of 12 km on air broadcasts programmes from 6 to 9 am, 10 am to 12 noon, 2pm to 5 pm and 6 to 9 pm in night. The programme divided into ten categories ranges from health, education, cultural, interview of villagers, phone-in among others.

As many as 62 villages of Koraput and Lamataput blocks situated at a radius of about 12 km from Chappar tune into Dhimsa radio, partaking in a repertoire of quality community-based programmes, including folk songs and theatre.

'It provides a wonderful platform to air problems relating to women's health, child marriage, sanitation and other developmental issues. Prior to the inauguration of the station, we have prepared over 700 programmes on various subjects,' said Sachida Mohanty, a radio station programmer who works full-time for Dhimsa Radio.

'As the programmes are prepared by the community in local dialects, it also provides a platform for the local artists,' he added. At least 12 reporters have been appointed by the station who extensively travel in rural areas, conduct interviews and present the problems of villagers. Also, a listener club has been formed in each of the 62 villages and they have been supplied by a radio.

'In places like Koraput we need more of such FM radio stations as the administration has limited resources to reach the people residing in remote and inaccessible areas. Through FM radio, which is also available in mobile phones, we can broadcast programmes based on various welfare-schemes of the government meant for rural areas,' the collector said.

During the visit of Union home minister Rajnath Singh to Koraput in February, the district administration had urged him to open FM radio stationa at Maoist-hit Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon blocks of the district.

'When a right message reaches the people in rural areas, there are very little chances of them being misguided by the rebels,' the collector said.