Keeping tribals abreast of the latest during pandemic

Mysuru Karnataka 05/04/2020:

A screenshot of the Janadhwani community radio App.

Mysuru Karnataka 05/04/2020: A screenshot of the Janadhwani community radio App.   | Photo Credit: Screenshot

A community radio station is creating awareness on COVID-19 in remote areas

A community radio station operating out of Sargur bordering the national parks and tiger reserves in Mysuru district is creating COVID-19 awareness among the tribals and rural people living on the periphery and keeping them fully abreast of the pandemic.

An initiative of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, ‘Janadhwani’ (voice of the people) – a community radio by the community for the community – as its tagline proclaims, is operating since the last few years with focus on development and tribal issues. But once the COVID-19 became a pandemic and the lockdown came into effect, Janadhwani with its live phone-in programmes was effective in spreading awareness in rural areas and the remote outback of H.D. Kote and Sargur that are not easily accessible.

Flight lieutenant M.A. Balasubramanya, secretary of SVYM, told The Hindu that the signals of Janadhwani radio station has an aerial radius of 10 km. “But as we are located at considerable height, we get calls from as far as Metagalli on the outskirts of Mysuru and a few villages along the Outer Ring Road, which are about 60 to 70 km from Saragur,” he added. The community radio’s app ‘Janadhwani’ can be downloaded on Google Play.

The seven staff and compères of the radio station, all trained and working with SVYM, rope in doctors and government officials ranging from the taluk health officer and district health officer to the Deputy Commissioner who answer queries to infuse confidence in the community. With a reach of nearly three lakh people spread over 200 villages, Janadhwani broadcasts for 14 hours daily of which 2 hours — 10 a.m. to noon — is dedicated to health issues, including COVID-19.

It also provides radio consultation that are not prescriptive but general advisory and guidelines. On an average, there are at least 15 to 20 questions daily from the Adivasis and rural people, according to G.S. Kumar, CEO of SVYM.

H.D. Kote and Sargur are among the most backward regions with tribals constituting 10% of the total taluk population. And where physical connectivity by way of road is poor, the community radio station plays an effective role.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:26:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/keeping-tribals-abreast-of-the-latest-during-pandemic/article31264632.ece

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