35 FM licences issued after Jana Andolan II

Kathmandu, September 28:

Following the April uprising, the Ministry of Information and Communication has issued 35 new licences to run FM radio stations till today.

Humla, Jumla, Rukum, Rolpa, Salyan and Khotang are among the remote districts that have obtained licences lately. Though 56 FM radio stations — community and commercial FM radio stations — had acquired licences before the April uprising, 54 stations are operating

in the country. “The Ministry has yet to decide whether to issue licences to over 100 applicants,” said an official at the Department of Information.

Most of these stations are proposed as community radio stations. “Half the licence-holders are often found to have failed in establishing stations within the stipulated time. As a result, they lose a pretty good sum deposited as revenue,” says the official. According to him, many apply for licences just to reserve a frequency for them.

According to a new provision, the licence will be scrapped if the licence-holder fails to run an FM station within a year of the date of issuance of the licence. Shyam Chalise, a senior official at the department, hinted that licences for running FM stations in Kathmandu might not be issued anymore. “The capital does not have the capacity to regulate air waves smoothly anymore.” However, no decision to this effect has been taken.

Asked to clarify whether the issuance of licences in Kathmandu has been stopped, joint secretary at the ministry, Sohan Bahadur Nyuchhe, declined to comment on the matter.

According to Chalise, as many as 14 FM radio stations are operating in the Kathmandu valley. Ten more licences have just been issued for running new stations.