| The Dibrugarh All India Radio station, fitted with the most powerful transmitter in eastern India, is a pitiably understaffed organisation, struggling to maintain normal operations. |
Sixty-nine posts are lying vacant at the centre, including those of the station director and four assistant station directors.
Several posts of programme executives, assistant news editors, music composer, announcer, engineering assistant, stenographers and drivers are also unoccupied.
The station was established four decades ago to highlight the rich cultural heritage of the region — particularly Upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
In fact, the agenda was to counter Chinese waves through this powerful transmitter in Dibrugarh.
"Before the establishment of the AIR station here, people in Arunachal Pradesh used to hear transmissions by Chinese radio which they could receive easily. However, after the establishment of AIR, Dibrugarh, people got to hear something Indian on their radio sets," a source said.
Lately, AIR, Dibrugarh has been largely neglected by the Centre, particularly the information and broadcasting ministry.
Officials and employees from the Dibrugarh centre were transferred elsewhere without arrangements being made for their replacements.
"Akashvani, Dibrugarh, in its initial days was heard even in states like Orissa. But gradually, its transmission power got affected because of poor maintenance and lack of technical personnel. We have time and again submitted memorandums to the authorities but nothing came of them. All these pleas and applications seem to have fallen on deaf ears," the source added.
The All Assam Students Union has now decided to take up the matter with the information and broadcasting ministry.
"We will soon send memorandums to the Union government with pleas to solve AIR, Dibrugarh's problems. It is unfortunate that the Centre is neglecting a station that was established to counter Chinese waves," Rituparna Baruah, assistant general secretary of AASU, said.
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