| 06 Oct 2022
91 Letter of Intent cancelled by Information and Broadcasting Ministry

MUMBAI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) cancelled the Letter of Intent (LOI) issued to 91 applicants of Community Radio (CR) stations who failed to get into operational mode. The ministry is said to have informed them about the repercussions of failing to abide by the necessary guidelines.

The cancellation is due to the violation of clause 3(b)(iv) in the 'Policy Guidelines for setting up Community Radio Stations in India'. The clause states, "Within one month of the issue of the Letter of Intent (LOI) the eligible applicant will be required to apply, in the prescribed format and with the requisite fee, to the WPC Wing of the Ministry of Communication and IT, Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi for frequency allocation and SACFA clearance." Community Radio Forum VP Ram Bhat said, "There are some applicants who were issued the Letter of Intent five years back. After repeated reminders and notices were sent-out by the ministry the decision was made. One reason the applicants violated the clause was the lack of response from WPC."

According to updated information on CR which gives status of CR licensing from 2004 to 1 May 2014 stated that I&B has received 1348 applications which includes 104 applications under old guidelines. There were about 461 LOI issued out of which 91 was cancelled. Grant of Permission of Agreement (GOPA) has been signed with 200 applicants. Out of the 370 LOI remaining, 170 CR is functioning. 667 applications have been rejected and 220 applications are under process.

From 2004 to December 2013 a total of 1277 applications had been received by the ministry. From December 2013 to 2014, 51 applications have been rejected, 23 LOI was issued and 6 GOPA had been signed.

Meanwhile, this year I&B introduced a new scheme which will provide 50 per cent of the equipment cost to new and established community radio stations, provided the guidelines set by I&B are met by the Community Radio. Under the initiative, NGO and educational institutions can finalise their equipment to be procured without government involvement.

According to the 11th Five Year Plan, Rs 100 crore was allocated for community radio stations. Out of which Rs 90 crore is for building operational community radio stations, and the remainder Rs 10 crore for the workshops organised by the Ministry every year.