On 1st July, 2018 Radio Kashmir Srinagar completed seventy years of its existence. During all these years this station has contributed immensely in the promotion of all aspects of Kashmiri culture.
During the times of natural disasters and distress, this station has played a very important role in disseminating news and helping the government to identify the areas of immediate attention.
The station presents an overall picture of life in Kashmir to the outside world and contributes towards the betterment of the Kashmiri society.
The performance report of this radio station during this period can be stated as satisfactory, especially in the area of culture and society.
Radio Kashmir Srinagar provided a platform to people of diverse talents and these people groomed their talents in this station. It was the space that this station provided to these people that they became household names.
Had the space not been provided to them their talents would have gone wasted and they would have remained unknown, if not nameless.
Many singers, music composers, announcers and anchors became famous courtesy the Radio Kashmir Srinagar and contributed in diverse fields of life in Kashmir division of the state.
However, if the performance of this radio station is analyzed realistically and with a degree of sincerity there are many grey areas which are still to be addressed.
The partisanship in delivering the news and never going against the dictates of the government while functioning is one such area. If the department of news of Radio Kashmir is viewed and its performance analyzed we can safely say that this department is the mouthpiece of the government and not of the people of Kashmir.
Nevertheless, our concern this time is with a recent development in respect of Radio Kashmir, an unpleasant and unfortunate development it can be said. About this development only a few people are aware. If this trend continues it will surely ruin the prestige and position of this respectable institution which would be a great loss.
The same people who are duty bound to prevent such developments from taking place are responsible for its occurrence, and deliberate materialization.
The development is about the use of unprofessional and unethical practices by the current dispensation of the institution in their working and use of exploitative and discriminatory tactics against the temporary and casual workers who have rendered great service at Radio Kashmir Srinagar.
We all know that Radio Kashmir Srinagar is not only performing the roles, and contributing in the areas, mentioned above but it is also a source of employment for many people. The employment is provided both on temporary and permanent basis.
In both the cases many families are dependent on Radio Kashmir Srinagar for their wherewithal. This station is providing that wherewithal to such families since the very outset of its establishment, yes against the service these people render at the station.
But, in this recent development many of such people, especially the ones who used to work on temporary or contractual basis, have been denied that, they have been prevented from working in the station. Some of these people have rendered their untiring services for decades in the station.
The regular employees of the station enjoy all the perks and positions without doing sufficient amount of work in return but these casual workers work much more than their pay cheque indicate or remuneration display.
The regular employees work like the bureaucrats of the erstwhile East India Company to earn disproportionate money by using all the illegal and unethical means.
They write scripts in the fake names and get cheques in these fake names. They also underpay the casual workers and discriminate and exploit them.
A news reader who used to get Rs. 1700.00 per bulletin for four hours in the year 2014 is now being paid only Rs. 1000.00 for seven hours for such work. There is no hike in casual worker’s fee in last 10 years even some have been reduced to the work of six days a month against 29 days previously.
Reproducing interviews is rampantly resorted to. The announcers use whatever words they like irrespective of the language of the program.
The irony is that there is no duty officer to take your call if you want to contact the studio. All the tactics are resorted to get maximum of personal gains by some heads of the Radio Station.
So celebrating 70th Foundation Day serves no purpose when the casual workers, whose families are dependent on Radio Kashmir Srinagar, are made to suffer and they are denied their work.
The orders issued by the Central Authorities against these poor workers, who have spent the prime of their lives while serving Radio Kashmir, are implemented in letter and spirit and there is nobody to resist against those orders.
It seems the sole purpose of this institution is to inflict as much sufferings as can be inflicted upon these workers. There were two locals who resisted such orders and impress upon the All India Radio authorities to look the matter with a humane eye. None other than them ever did that thereafter.
Specifically, there was a time when more than 400 people were engaged in News Section; from copiests to monitors and attendants.
The number has now has been reduced to half thereby denying the families of the other half from the income which was so essential for their survival.
Also the future of a dozen bright and intelligent youth has been ruined by the authorities of this institution. They have rendered great services to the institution with the promise that they would be permanently accommodated but when the time came to fulfil the promise they were show the way out.
In place of these dedicated, intelligent, efficient, talented and skilled people a few ladies have been engaged. There ladies are paid high remunerations, much higher than was paid to the deserving people.
These ladies who have only a few years of experience are given preferences over the ones who have more than twenty five years of experience and expertise due to reasons known only to the authorities of Radio Kashmir Srinagar.
This is a clear injustice with these experienced people, their rights have been violated and are being violated by the current dispensation of Radio Kashmir Srinagar.
The celebration of the 70th Foundation Day would be more purposeful if justice is provided to them. Plus the other unprofessional practices that have crept in the working of this great institution need to be abandoned and the professional and ethical ones need to be adopted.
This institution needs to be taken to new height but the working of the current dispensation is no guarantee that such heights can be achieved.
Hope somebody concerned looks in to the matter and provides justices to the deserving and correct the working of the institution.
Otherwise the status now is such that it misses all important news broadcast due to lack of news readers, was the case on 7th July,11.05 o’clock. This shows favouritism and inefficiency of the current dispensation of the institution.