New Delhi | Anurag Mishra: The Centre on Friday announced the extension of lockdown till May 17 in wake of the alarming spike in coronavirus cases in India but said that some relaxations will be given in districts under ‘Orange’ and ‘Green’ Zones. As per the data available at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the dreadful infection has affected almost 40,000 people while more than 1,300 have lost their lives.

Amid the surging coronavirus cases, the government has appealed to maintain ‘social distancing’ as it is the only way to combat the deadly disease. However, it is equally important to make people aware of coronavirus and about the facilities that the government is providing.

However, community radio stations are playing an important role in making people aware of coronavirus pandemic. Vinod Pavrala, a UNESCO official on community media, told that the role of community radio stations is important because they can help people get reliable information about the infection in their local language.

“Many community radios are performing this task with great responsibility. These radios are aware of the actual situation and provide information to people accordingly,” he said.

“For example, the voice of Gurgaon radio station has become the voice of the underprivileged. It is providing people with accurate information about the pandemic,” he said.

Surendra Singh Banolta, manager of community radio Himachal Harijan Kalyan Sanstha in Shimla, told that they are providing people information about the pandemic and the steps that the government has taken. He further said that the radio station is also trying to remove the myths about the virus and called them a ‘challenge’.

“This is not only about the virus but also about fake news. We run ‘Break the Fake News Chain program’ on our radio and a program called ‘Havan’ in which we spread awareness about the environment,” he said.

Similarly, Radio Chitkara is a 24/7 community radio station which provides information about coronavirus pandemic. Dr Ashutosh Mishra told that Radio Chitkara is the only radio channel that has been broadcasting programs related to coronavirus across the day continuously since March 28.

“It provides details of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio program ‘Mann Ki Baat’. It also provides information about the guidelines given by the different state governments,” he said.

Speaking to, programing head Pankaj Garg said that radio programs are installed and broadcast in special software. He said that Win Media software is at their radio station. He said that the programing department includes Ashutosh Mishra from Chandigarh, Executive Producers Ranjit Singh and Rupinder Kaur from Patiala and broadcast from home.

Meanwhile, youngsters from about 50 villages of Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh and about 100 villages of Uttarakhand have joined the community radio Janwani Kendra located in Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant Agricultural and Research University wherein they have been imparted training for giving information on agriculture through transistors and mobile.

University’s Dean of Agriculture Dr Shivendra Kumar Kashyap stated that workers in the nearby village have informed that the time has been fixed for a villager to visit the city to bring necessary items so that everyone doesn’t visit the city.  

Dr Kashyap further said that through the call-in facility, farmers share their concerns and get their problems solved. He said that whatever advisory is issued by the Center, the state government and the administration regarding coronavirus, it is also broadcast on the radio station.

Vinod Pawrala, a UNESCO official, told that community radio currently needs funding so that they can reach people in a better way. “They need to get some advertisements from government agencies and should be given relief from contingency funding,” he said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma