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Union govt winds up regional news units under AIR

Image result for All India Radio tiruchiThe Union information and broadcasting department has issued the order to close down four regional news units (RNUs) including Trichy, functioning from All India Radio (AIR), with immediate effect. A government order (GO 82/2017-IIS) issued by the ministry has listed out the transfer orders for the staff of RNUs.
For the lakhs of regular listeners across the state who tune into AIR's regular news bulletins the order has come as a dampener. Once the regional news units would wind up, the bulletins would lost its local flavour as well, said officials, who have appealed the government to reconsider the decision.
According to the GO, dated July 18, senior grade and junior grade IIS group-B officers, working from Calicut, Dharwad, Indore and Trichy, have been transferred with immediate effect, without allotting any post. In the case of Trichy staff, the assistant director and correspondent have been transferred so far.
As there will be no news desk, there will not be any news bulletin from RNU or Rainbow FM either. "Despite stiff resistance from Prasar Bharathi, the ministry of information and broadcasting is keen on disbanding RNUs, particularly those functioning from the south," a staff, requesting anonymity, from All India Radio alleged.
"It is a pre-emptive move for a closure. The same kind of attempt was denied by then union minister for information and broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu last year. But, the GO was issued on the same day Naidu resigned his position as cabinet minister a few days back," he added.
The transfer of officials from Trichy RNU would also impact the jobs for more than 40 casual workers attached with Trichy RNU. Correspondents from Coimbatore have also been transferred to Delhi, he said.

It may also be recalled that the offices of the Registrar of Newspaper of India and the Press Information Bureau from Madurai were closed last year.
The regional Tamil news 'Maanila Seithikal' which is broadcast daily at 1.45 pm got the Akashwani national award for best RNU in 2006, while FM 'Seithi Surukkam' (headlines) was started in Rainbow FM in August 2006 It topped the popularity charts by the Audience Research Unit. "AIR is the pride of Trichy and RNU is feather in the cap of AIR," Trichities said.
"During natural calamities like rain, flood and cyclones, they can alert people who listen to the special news bulletins as the radio was the only medium of information when power goes off during the rainy season," said S Chandru, a retired teacher from Srirangam.
"Once the news bulletins would stop, we cannot get news relevant to delta farmers, Mettur reservoir levels and fishermen arrests which are quite popular in the central districts such as Trichy, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Karur, Pudukkottai, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kanyakumari, Thirunelveli and Thoothukudi," Chandru said


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