The proposed plan to shut down the All India Radio unit at Joranda has met with stiff opposition from all sections of the society.The locals, meanwhile, have started gathering support for up gradation of the AIR unit which is situated at the international headquarters of Mahima Dharma.

As per reports, the AIR unit at Joranda was opened in 1995 with support of the then Information and Broadcasting Minister KP Singhdeo. The objective behind setting up the AIR unit was to promote local and folk culture, language, literature and message of humanity.

However, the unit was plagued by staff crunch with most of the programs being prepared by casual announcers. While the unit operated without programs executives (PEs), the post of assistant engineer was also vacant. Moreover, though the unit was supposed to broadcast programs within an aerial distance of 25 km, it is able to cover only 20 kms as transmission instruments have become old. Though quarters facilities are available inside the premises of the AIR unit, these are lying vacant as the staffs are commuting from their native places on a rotation basis.  It was decided to convert the station to 1 KW VHF FM solid state broadcast transmitter from the existing 1 KW MW under the 12th Plan in July 2014. Though infrastructure was put in place for phone-in-program, it could not be used for reasons best known to the authorities.

With the AIR unit in dire straits, speculations are doing the rounds that plans are being made to shut down the station. After being approached by the locals, Union Minister DhamendraPradhan had written a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore earlier this year and sought his intervention to revive the AIR station at Joranda. In reply to Pradhan’s letter, Rathore had assured to look into the matter.

The Mahima Samaj recently urged the AIR Director General, New Delhi for up gradation of the Joranda unit into FM station as decided in 2014. In reply, the Director General informed that the date of closing of the AIR station at Joranda has not been decided yet. Contacted, Assistant Director of AIR, Cuttack Bhagirathi Mishra, who is also the Assistant Station Director of AIR, Joranda, said he has not received any official communication on its closure. - New Indian Express