By Idrees Bukhtiyar, Indiatimes®
Aug 17, 2022
Surrounded by the barbed wires, dense deodar trees and Pir Panchal mountains in the backdrop, this is the All India Radio (AIR) Srinagar’s Radio Station which has been set up close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Rustum area of J&K’s Uri sector.
Set up in November 2020, the station has been built 9,000 feet above the sea level.
The radio station has been set up with an aim to provide access to the Kashmiri people living on the other side of the border to listen to their favourite programs.
“The local news, music programs and especially Pahari and Gojari programs are aired from this station for the Kashmiri population living on the other side of the LoC,” said Qazi Masood who heads the station in Uri.
6 am-11:20 pm radio services
He said that services start from 6 in the morning till 11:20 at night.
“From 6 am to 10:30 am all AIR Srinagar programs are broadcasted, 10: 30 am to 11: 30 am Vividh Bharati Mumbai, Srinagar programs are there for the listeners and later till 11:20 pm AIR Srinagar programs are aired again,” Masood said.
He said that the station has 10 Kilowatt transmitters. “There are two transmitters. In case one gets defunct or dysfunctional, the station can be run on a second transmitter,” he said.
The station has an FM too for the local population and the people across the border. “The frequency of the FM is 100.1 MHz and for Srinagar it is 103.5 MHz,” he told Indiatimes.
DD Kashmir too coming up
Masood said that the government is also starting the Doordarshan (DD) Kashmir channel soon.
“As of now, it has been started on a trial basis. We have also set up two transmitters for it here. It will later go for commissioning,” he said adding that, “We are hopeful that it will most probably be my next month.”
Masood suggested the idea of giving a chance to the local youth in Uri.
“I think if some programs can be done locally where the youth can be involved wherein, they can speak about the local issues of the area and highlight it so as to get the redressal of the problems done,” he said.
He said, “We have a small studio and we can do such activities from there as well.”
Life at risk
When asked about life in a radio station during the ceasefire violation, Masood said they have been lucky enough that they have not seen any cross-border shelling so far.
“But it is risky because the station is located on the frontline and a fear remains of getting hit from across the border. We pray peace prevails and everyone remains safe,” he said.
Masood who has been in the service for the last 33-years said that life gets tougher during the winters in this area of Kashmir.
“We witness 4-5 feet of snow here, no traffic ply on the roads these days and this area remains disconnected from the rest of the world for over three months. We dump the essential items at the station prior to the snowfall so as to survive the three months,” he said.
Other side of LoC happy
The radio station is close to the Indian Army’s Rustum post where from a few areas of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) are clearly visible. The areas include Khawaja Bandi, Sajiwar, Morhi Maidan and Doaba. The sector is also popularly known as Hajipeera Dhara.
Kashmiri people living across the border said that they are happy that the J&K government has taken such a step.
“I am now able to listen to Shaharbeen, a popular current affairs program aired from AIR Srinagar. I get to know what is happening in Kashmir and other parts of the valley,” said Mohd Aamin, a resident of Sajiwar area who has shifted to Muzaffrabad now.
Mohd Zaffar Khawaja, another resident of Muzaffrabad said that his family has been a huge fan of Kashmiri Sufi music.
“We have also been watching it on YouTube but listening to the traditional music that too on radio has truly a different feel,” he said.
The residents of both sides of the border hoped that such initiatives would help bring peace along the LoC.
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