All India Radio stops airing Ignou's Gyanvani

All India Radio stops airing Ignou's Gyanvani

All India Radio (AIR) has stopped airing 37 educational channels of Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) after, literally, begging for more than a year for payment of about Rs 21.64 crore which was due since April 1 last year.

The Gyanvani, a network of the Ignou’s FM educational radio stations which were taken off the air by the public broadcaster from October 1, was serving over 30 lakh students of the open varsity across the country.

Hundreds of students, who depended on these radio stations for their studies, have been affected. Before taking Gyanvani off the air, the public broadcaster gave enough opportunity to the Ignou to clear its dues.

AIR wrote six letters to the open varsity in the last 18 months, requesting for payment of the outstanding amount. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), too, wrote two letters to the Ignou and sought clearance of the dues but to no avail. “Ignou did not respond to any of these correspondence,” a senior AIR official told Deccan Herald.

Ignou’s demand for release of funds to clear the dues with the public broadcaster was stuck due to bureaucratic hurdles. The file related to the release of funds were moved from one table to another.

Clearance of dues

When AIR issued a notice to the varsity on July 9, 2014, threatening that Gyanvani services will be discontinued if dues were not cleared on or before July 29, Ignou “earnestly” requested the public broadcaster to continue offering services and infrastructure for the running of Gyanvani stations beyond July 29 “for the benefit of the society at large".

It told AIR that the matter was under “active consideration” of the Human Resource Development Ministry, hoping that all dues of the Prasar Bharati will be cleared soon.
“Still no response was received from the Ignou. In spite of assurance, no payment was received from the Ignou and AIR was constrained to stop Gyanvani service from October 1, 2014,” AIR official added. When contacted, Director of the Electronic
Media Production Centre at Ignou, Iftikhar Khan said  AIR should not have stopped the transmission of Gyanvani.

“Services can be continued by AIR so that students don’t suffer. This is a kind of public service provided by the government to the people. It is just a matter of transfer of money from one government department to another. Such delays are bound to happen because of inherent nature of governmental set up,” he said, hoping the dues will soon be cleared. As thousands of students are affected by the move, Ignou has begun webcasting curriculum based audio-video programmes.

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