Government will install 10 FM radio towers in far-flung villages along the Indo-Nepal border as per a plan mooted by frontier guarding force Sashastra Seema Bal to counter anti-India propaganda and “increasingly” involve locals in the mainstream. SSB has identified 10 locations in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for erecting towers in collaboration with the All India Radio (AIR).
“We have mooted the plan to start FM radio stations in these far-flung areas after conducting a feasibility study. The aim is to involve locals in the mainstream and provide a new source of entertainment and information to them,” SSB chief Archana Ramasundaram told PTI.
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The SSB Director General said that officials of the paramilitary are in “constant touch with the AIR and other authorities” and the plan is being actively worked upon so that these towers could come up at these locations in quick time.
Ten places finalised by the SSB for the project are Bhinga, Nanpara and Palia in Uttar Pradesh; Narkatiaganj, Sitamarhi, Batanaha and Bagha in Bihar and Champawat, Pithoragarh and Didihat in Uttarakhand.
Senior officials of the force said the idea behind erecting towers for relay of AIR programmes on Frequency Modulation (FM) bandwidth is two pronged.
“While the towers will provide much-needed entertainment to locals of these far-flung areas, it will also help counter anti-India propaganda being spread in these areas as has been reported by our field units and border posts,” they said.
Also, the SSB has proposed erecting the towers at its camps if it was difficult to get a suitable location from local authorities, they said.
Once the towers become operational, a feedback can be taken and a few more locations along the border and that along Indo-Bhutan frontier, also guarded by the SSB, could also be considered, the officials said.
The force, originally raised in 1963 with the task to counter anti-India propaganda in border areas, guards the 1,751-km long Indo-Nepal and the 699-km Indo-Bhutan frontiers and is also designated as the lead intelligence gathering agency there.
It was tasked to guard these frontiers in 2001 after its control was taken away from the external intelligence agency RAW and entrusted to the Home Ministry.
The SSB has 67 operational battalions with about 67,000 personnel.