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LOCAL PUNJABI CHANNEL IS A MUST FOR ALL INDIA RADIO AMRITSAR
12 Nov 2011

Very few people know that between 1948 and 1953 there was a radio station of All India Radio in Amritsar. For no tangible reason it was shut down permanently in 1953. But in May of 2007, construction of a new radio station started in Amritsar after a gap of fifty four years. It was a welcome news. In fact what started was the construction of a new high rise tower for combined use of Doordarshan and All India Radio. Being a 300 meter (nearly 1000 foot high) tower with a wide base, the construction was expected to proceed at a slow pace and it has been indeed so.
Prior to my November 2010 visit to Amritsar, I visited the offices of Prasar Bharati (AIR) in the Akashvani Bhawan in New Delhi. On seeing Madam Noreen Naqvi,
the then Director General of All India Radio, I came to know that the tower will be completed by March of 2011. I am hoping that by now the tower would have been completed, if not it will be competed very soon.
From what Noreen Naqvi told me, the new high powered FM radio station of All India Radio in Amritsar will be just a relay station or an auxiliary station for broadcasting the programmes of All India Radio in New Delhi, Mumbai and Jalandhar. I told her that the people of Amritsar want a programme origination station in Amritsar and not just a relay facility. But Noreen Naqvi told me that the plans, as they are at present, consist of only a relay facility in Amritsar and not the originating facilities. This arrangement will be an insult to the brilliant people of Amritsar.
The original cost of the tower was seventeen crore rupees, which due to delays and overruns might have increased to twenty crores by now. Compared to that the cost of a twenty kilowatt transmitter is only less than fifty lakhs of rupees. For optimum utility of the tower, the tower in Amritsar needs multiple transmitters. Amritsar is no ordinary city. It is the most happening city in Punjab. This city has a very vibrant theatre. Several brilliant theatres are competing with each other. The religious musicians at the Golden Temple are easily the best in Punjab. Even the folk singers include iconic personalities like Puran Chand Wadali and Piare Lal Wadali. Wagha Border and the Golden Temple generate a lot of news stories every day. The language spoken in the city is considered Standard Punjabi. There are lots of professors, lecturers and other orators in the city and they all write and speak great Punjabi. All such talent deserves to be served by an indigenous Punjabi radio channel. If much smaller cities like Bathinda and Patiala can have their own local Punjabi chaneels, why can’t Punjab’s greatest city Amritsar have its own local channel. Much smaller and far less significant cities in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have their own local originating radio stations.
I think the important citizens of Amritsar must write to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting to open a full fledged program originating radio station in Amritsar. The studio complex should be opened in the heart of the city. This radio station can serve as the right arm of our flagship radio station in Jalandhar.
The studio complex should be named after Mohammad Rafi. All the studios should be named after Bhai Santa Singh, Bhai Samund Singh, Surinder Kaur and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. 
Harjap Singh Aujla
harjapaujla@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need javascript enabled to view it