| 18 Jan 2022
IGNOU have to pay around Rs 20 crore to AIR for Gyanvani services

MUMBAI: The closure of educational FM radio station Gyanvani has left many students deprived of informal education. It was largely a radio network run under Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) with the help of All India Radio (AIR). The radio provided programmes covering different aspects and levels of education through informal techniques.

AIR decided to close down the service after the university failed to pay the outstanding dues for three years (for their 37 stations). IGNOU received repeated notices before AIR stopped transmission.

A source claims that it is more likely to be a temporary closure as the university is currently in talks with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

As per sources, IGNOU has to pay around Rs 20-25 crore to AIR as Gyanvani is transmitted using AIR transmitters. The issue can be sorted once the dues are cleared by the Government. The source also state that the vice chancellor "Professor M. Aslam and his biased committee does not want to spend IGNOU resources on the services."

Gyanvani was running on FM frequency across 37 cities and towns in the country. In 2002, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was given the frequency for educational broadcasting and the ministry gave IGNOU the responsibility. The network's main objective, when it began, was to create local content by local staff, but it ended up becoming another radio station under AIR which is dependent on Delhi for information.

Gyanvani is the brainchild of former director of Electronic Media Production Centre Dr R Sreedher, who said, "Both my children are dead. First, IGNOU stopped Gyan Darshan and now they stopped services by Gyanvani. Just weeks back our Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation through radio and expressed the importance of the medium; and then a government organisation shut down the services."

Sreedher further added, "The whole situation requires an enquiry by the government because such decisions cannot be taken because it is radio which is used for educational purpose." He also stated that from the time his association with IGNOU ended, the quality of programs on the radio deteriorated. In a recently survey, it showed that many students in India are unaware of Gyanvani.

Sreedher also added that the closure of Gyanvani was IGNOU's move to prevent spending money.

Once the dues are settled and the needed communication takes place between MHRD, MIB, AIR and IGNOU, services can resume. Sreedher said, "It is very likely that AIR's move might have taken MHRD with surprise or maybe ministers Smriti Irani and Prakash Javadekar are unaware of it."