Dhimsa radio churns social change in Koraput

For over a decade, Radio Dhimsa has been disseminating information on govt schemes, highlighting various issues through narrowcasting in Desia language, writes Bidyadhar Choudhury

Published: 09th January 2022 04:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2022 08:42 AM   |  A+A-

Reporters of the radio station meeting villagers. (Below) The community radio station at Chhapar village. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

KORAPUT: In the tribal-dominated Koraput block where government benefits rarely reach the people at the grassroots, a community radio station - Dhimsa - has become a tool for social change.

Set up by South Odisha Voluntary Action (SOVA) with UNICEF support in 2008 at Chhapar village in the block, the community radio has been disseminating information on government schemes, highlighting various issues and news through narrowcasting in Desia language and other local dialects.

It reaches out to areas in a 12 km radius, covering a population of 1,25,000 people spread across 63 villages of six gram panchayats. Listeners clubs have been formed in each of these villages.

From food sovereignty, organic farming to women’s health and empowerment and problems faced by children, the issues that the community radio highlights are many.

“We also provide a platform to the rural residents to air their grievances and artistes to showcase their talent,” said secretary of SOVA, Sanjit Patnaik.

Radio Dhimsa broadcasts for nine hours a day including one hour of live show where information on government schemes, people’s rights and issues are highlighted by reporters. The community radio station has 12 reporters who travel extensively to all the rural areas in the district and interview villagers. 

While mornings are meant for programs like ‘Gitkudi’ (musical show by tribal artistes, ‘Sust Gagod’ (good health), ‘Chasi Bhaitanay Podey (agriculture updates and techniques), the evenings are meant for special shows like ‘Kenta Koley Kenta Hoisi’ which focuses on how to avail government benefits and ‘Emti Amor Gaon’ where villagers are given training on skills like making leaf plates, paddy preservation and bamboo products among other things.

Station supervisor Udaynath Hantal said with the schools closed, they are also focussing on bridging the education gap in tribal villages.

“We have roped in teachers who teach children on different subjects class wise in a program called Pathsala. Besides, anganwadi workers and ANMs have a phone-in program ‘Katakoru’ where they speak to women about various health and livelihood issues”, he added.

With State government’s awareness campaigns on dos and don’ts during Covid-19 mostly being in Odia language, the radio played an important role in producing and broadcasting information related to the disease and its preventive measures in local dialects.

This time when the State is facing a third wave, similar arrangements have been put in place, Sanjit said.

He added that as mountains sometimes hamper the broadcasting, the State government should consider establishing FM stations in all the blocks so that radio programmes reach out to a lot more people. 
 



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