The Rs 818-crore proposal of the Union ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) to set up 69 FM radio stations in the 35 districts affected by Left-wing extremism (LWE) has not been taking off because of a fund crunch in the ministry of home affairs (MHA).
Sources in the Union government said that while the I&B ministry wants the project to be funded by the MHA — for it would be part of the action against the LWE — the MHA, on the ground of fund crunch, wants that the project be financed by the I&B ministry.
The I & B ministry has submitted a detailed project proposal with the MHA for setting up of the FM stations for communication with the people living in districts affected by LWE. The I&B ministry has presented that while Rs 680 crore is required for installation of the stations, Rs 138 crore would be spent toward recurring expenditure cost each year.
The Odisha government has urged the I&B ministry to take up the matter with the MHA and implement the project immediately. The state has also suggested that the coverage area of All India Radio in medium wave (MW) be improved so as to reach the far-flung areas of the state. Besides Odisha, seven other states affected by LWE have also demanded a revival of the project.
Similarly, the state has urged the union government for an expansion of the television network of Doordarshan.