New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) All India Radio (AIR) has suspended the services of its external service division (ESD) till March on account of the exigency measures being taken due to COVID-19 pandemic.

This will include the Urdu service, all foreign language services, Hindi services and rest of Indian language services which have been suspended.

In addition, AIR Kolkata has informed that due to the non-availability of announcers, arising out of the lockdown there it will not be possible for them to continue with the broadcast of Akashvani Maitree.

This service has been suspended after notifying the Bangladesh Betar which relays this service for 4 hours. The decisions were taken earlier this week after a meeting with CEO Prasar Bharti and instructions from CEO.

All staff members have been advised to be available on phone and WhatsApp/e-office, as the case maybe for any emergency. The External Services Division (ESD) of All India Radio (AIR) broadcasts daily 93 hours of programming 24 hours in 15 languages and 12 Indian languages for Indian diaspora living in different parts of the world.

The most important services of ESD which is targeted at Pakistan and is also listened to in India is the Urdu service of ESD which was started in 1965.

This service is the backbone of ESD and is known to be very popular. This service broadcasts programmes in all formats but its main content carries daily counter propaganda programmes for Pakistan besides daily nine news bulletins.

This service broadcasts programmes for 18 hours daily. The broadcast is in Urdu is meant for the Indian diaspora and similarly services and Hindi and English are targeted towards Indians in different parts of the world.

It broadcasts programmes in different formats like news, commentary, talks, current affairs, live radio shows, features, plays, programmes for children, sports, health besides film and classical music.

All the 15 language programmes include Arabaic, Burmese, balochi, Chinese, Dari, English, Indonesian, Persian, Pashto, Russian, Sinhala, Swahili, French.

The Indian languages include Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Malyalam, Gujarati, Kannada, Sindhi and Bangla.




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