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AIR to launch channel for cross-border listeners

Akashvani Maitree channel will source its content from state-owned Bangladesh Betar, according to concept theme note of the channel.

New Delhi: All India Radio will launch a new channel 'Akashvani Maitree' on Tuesday providing a common platform for participatory content creation for listeners in India and Bangladesh.

The Bengali language service channel, to be launched by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function in Kolkata, is going to be a maiden venture of AIR which aims at blending of content from both India and Bangladesh from the fields of art, culture, literature, music, sports and shared socio-economic issues.

Akashvani Maitree channel will source its content from state-owned Bangladesh Betar, according to concept theme note of the channel.

The concept of the channel emanates from a decision taken during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka in June last year, about exloring possibilities of content- sharing among the broadcasting organisations of the two countries.

To make its programmes popular and participatory in nature, Akashvani Maitree also proposes to produce and broadcast programmes like shows, music and quiz competitions, discussions where citizens from India and Bangladesh can join, said the theme note.

The content of the channel is expected to be oriented in a manner to make it useful for listeners on both sides of the border.

For example, India (particularly West Bengal) and Bangladesh belong to similar agro-climatic zone/region, hence knowledge and best practices in the field can be shared in programmes relating to agriculture.

Similarly, a large number of people from Bangladesh come for healthcare in India. So, a programme series profiling different premier medical institutes in India, super speciality treatments available here, procedures to be followed for availing these services, tentative costs, visa facilitation etc. Is also proposed to be broadcast by Akashvani Maitree.

The quantum of news and current affairs programme is also proposed to be enhanced with particular emphasis on news and happenings in the subcontinent and on issues relating to the two countries.

All India Radio had started a special Bengali service in the wake of the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971 and played a historic role during the war. It continued to be very popular till April, 2010 when it was discontinued due to decommissioning of the Super Power Transmitter at Chinsurah, in West Bengal.

Akashvani Maitree channel will be launched from a state-of-the-art high power 1000 Kw DRM transmitter installed at Chinsurah in West Bengal with a capacity to cover the entire Bangladesh.

The duration of the broadcast of the channel has been increased from 6 hrs 30 minutes to 16 hrs per day.

Akashvani Maitree channel will also be available to listeners in Bangladesh, India and the Bengali diaspora world over through its multimedia website airworldservice.Org and mobile apps which will have live-streaming, text and video content.

Efforts are also being made to work out arrangements with local FM Stations in Bangladesh to relay/re-broadcast Akashvani Maitree programmes to ensure better listening in hinterland Bangladesh.