New Delhi: Public service broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) is planning to "revitalise" its Punjabi service to augment its reach to the Punjabi-speaking listeners "on both sides of the border".
AIR currently broadcasts programmes in Punjabi language from its Jalandhar station in short and medium wave transmitters, which do not air quality voice, thereby losing the listeners to Pakistani channels, a senior official said.
On the other hand, Pakistan has over a dozen Punjabi channels that attract people in Indian state of Punjab, besides serving its domestic listeners.
"We need to counter this. We need to present an Indian perspective on various issues to the Punjabi-speaking audience in Pakistan and in India," the official said.
Besides Jalandhar, the service—Des Punjab or Country Punjab—will be complemented with FM transmitters to be set up at Amritsar, which will ensure quality voice reaching over 70 km into Pakistan from border.
A new FM transmitter at Amritsar can reach Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot areas which are dominated by Punjabi-speaking people.
"The countries (India and Pakistan) are divided but we cannot divide the language. The revitalised Punjabi service will bring the Punjabi people living on both sides of the border closer.
"It will also counter the popularity of Pakistan's radio channels in their side as well as in India," the official said.
The programmes would primarily be based on entertainment such as Punjabi songs, interviews with Punjabi actors, who are popular on both sides and call-in song request programmes.
They would also present India's point of view on various political and other issues.
"Programmes will give out the message that how a society which holds democratic and secular ethos is better than a closed society. It will show how this side of Punjab has more opportunities, especially for women, as compared to that side," the official added.
Besides Punjabi, the AIR's external services division airs programmes in Urdu, Saraiki, Sindhi and Pashto, targeted at Pakistani listeners.
The official said the government plans to strengthen these language services with installing a number of transmitters in border areas.
Updated Date: Jul 09, 2017 14:02 PM