LARKANA: The 100 kiloWatt medium wave transmitter of the Radio Pakistan Larkana which was planned to be made functional in 2008 is yet to be put in operation due to technical reasons.

It was installed near Chuharpur village located along the Larkana-Naudero Road after complaints by listeners about low signals. Although the work for the installation had almost been completed, some technical issues hindered commissioning of the transmitter, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation’s Larkana station director Mukhtiar Malik, who visited the site a couple of weeks ago, told Dawn.

The Larkana station was commissioned in October 1995 and the then Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto had inaugurated it. Since then it had been experiencing turbulence because of its weak transmitter, he said.

During the regime of General Pervez Musharraf, the PBC sanctioned the 100kW transmitter for Larkana but it was shifted to Turbat before it could be installed at the project site.

The two-kW transmitter meant for airing FM-93 broadcast within a radius of 80 kilometres is also an enigma for listeners, who complain of trouble in receiving the broadcast. It appeared that the FM-93 transmissions can hardly be heard within a radius of 20-25 kilometres.

“I had time and again taken up the matter with the PBC headquarters but without any response,” said Mr Malik.

In a letter addressed to the PBC controller on June 24, 2014 it was mentioned that two out of the four panels of the transmitter installed on June 23, 2010 were not working properly.

Sources in the PBC said that the listening range of the transmitter had now reduced to just a quarter of its projected capacity. Also, the transmission was not so clear, they said, adding that the situation had been persisting for four years.A team of technical experts led by Mr Shakeeluddin visited the transmitter site to rectify faults, Mr Malik said, and expressed the hope that the medium wave transmissions from the Larkana stations would start within a couple of months.

However, Mr Shakeeluddin, when contacted for his comment, declined to say anything about the status of the troubleshooting work. He said the planning and development wing of PBC headquarters could be asked about any progress in this regard.

In 2008, three high-power transmitters were imported for installation at Multan, Larkana and Hyderabad but only one of them could be installed and made operational on Aug 17, 2014 at Hyderabad, sources said. The fate of the other two transmitters still hanged in the balance, they said.

Most people at the helm of affairs here in Larkana remain indifferent over such issues, according to Mr Malik. He referred to a trouble that hit the Khairpur station in the past, and said that Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had immediately sanctioned Rs90 million to overcome the problem.

Sources at the Larkana station told Dawn that even a standby generator to ensure an uninterrupted power supply was yet to be made available here.

The railway authorities were playing delaying tactics for necessary permission with regard to a high tension electricity cables required to be erected across the railway line to reach the transmitter site, the sources said, adding that the PBC had already made the payment as demanded by the railway authorities.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2015

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