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Transfer of officials from AIR regional news unit raises concern

The transfer of two Indian Information Service officers serving at the Regional News Unit (RNU) of the All India Radio, Tiruchi, has raised concerns over the possible loss of regional flavour in the Tamil news bulletins produced by the unit or even the closure or relocation of the unit.

The Deputy Director (News) and the Correspondent stationed in Tiruchi have been transferred by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with several officers from other units across the country.


While K. Parameshwaran has been posted as Deputy Director, Press Information Bureau, Hyderabad; the correspondent, Devi Padmanabhan, has been posted as Field Publicity Officer in Tiruchi.

AIR, Tiruchi, is one of the pioneering radio stations in the country, functioning from the pre-Independence era - it was started in 1939.

The RNU was started in November 1981.

An attempt to close down the RNU in Tiruchi triggered a public outcry last year and was subsequently kept in abeyance.

Sources in the AIR- Tiruchi said the transfer of two of the three permanent staff members (except the news reader-cum-translator) of the unit without replacements is as good as closing or relocating the unit.

For, the sources said, the IIS officers are in charge of providing and monitoring news. Besides, about 40 persons serving as news readers, computer operators and production assistants on contract may also stand to lose their job.

The RNU airs short bulletins every hour on the Tiruchi Rainbow FM from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Besides, the 1.45 p.m. ‘Maanila Seithigal’ news bulletin aired over the primary channel is broadcast from the RNU, Tiruchi, and is relayed by all radio stations in Tamil Nadu.

Popular in delta

The news bulletins cover regional issues, including those relating to the farmers, and are quite popular among listeners in central districts. Rainbow FM caters to more than 25 lakh listeners in the region, the sources said.

The RNU plays the role of an important communication medium at times of natural calamities such as floods and cyclones in the region.

The news bulletins are highly popular as audience research surveys, the sources said.

No communication

“There is no official communication yet on the fate of the RNU or what will happen to the news bulletins produced by the unit. As of now, the news bulletins continue. Possibly, the Chennai AIR station may take over the production of the bulletins,” said an official of AIR, Tiruchi, who did not want to be identified.

Till Friday evening, the Deputy Director was not relieved, though the correspondent did receive orders relieving him from the post. Some State political leaders and senior officials of Prasar Bharathi were said to have intervened to ensure that the operations of news unit were not affected.


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