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Community radio crackles to life at Panjab University

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Using spoken words to develop intimate bonds among students and providing a platform to voice opinions, Panjab University has joined the few universities in northern India that have their own community radio. Jyotirgamaya is the second community radio in Chandigarh after Vivek High School's 'Vivek 90.4 FM' which has been operating for the last over four years. “We try to address issues like women's welfare, problems of students and health-related queries,” radio station manager Kanwaljit Singh told the sources. “Also, career counseling and specialist advice on various issues is aired with the help of interviews and talk shows,” he added. The name of this radio station 'Jyotirgamaya' – from a Sanskrit prayer which says 'take me from darkness to light' – speaks volumes for its purpose. The new community radio station was formally inaugurated by union Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni at Panjab University's School of Communication Studies (SCS). SCS operates the radio station at 91.2 frequency and people residing within a six to seven kilometer radius are being educated, informed, entertained and given an opportunity of equal participation by its means. Students of SCS and other departments of the university, under the guidance of Singh, prepare programmes which are aired throughout the day. These programmes are aimed at making society a better place to live and to make community members better citizens. Expressing his enthusiasm, Panjab University Vice Chancellor R.C. Sobti said, “Through Jyotirgamaya, we aim to serve as an agent of change by breaking free the social, economic and cultural barriers for awareness generation.” For the students, it is a platform to showcase their talent and reach their community with their messages. Students who have been recording their programmes for the station say that they are really happy with the initiative. “Jyotirgamaya is binding the community consisting of students, teachers and other members in an unmatched way. Nothing else could have made it happen,” said Tejbir Kalra, a student of the University Business School (UBS). Jyotirgamaya has expansion plans on the cards, wherein the frequency is to be made accessible for 22 nearby villages and eight villages adopted by the university. The concept of community radio came into the picture in the country in 2004 after the successful survival of national and regional radio channels.

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