inseparable from his two- dollar transistor ever since a community radio
(CR) station started up in this coastal town. The square black box blares
popular songs while Masani waits for his brothers to land the daily catch.*
Radio Namaskar http://radionamaskar.org/ (the traditional Indian greeting),
on the air since February 2010, offers much more than entertainment to the
2,000 active fishers from a 10,000-strong settlement of mud hut dwellers
along Odisha state's Chandrabhaga coastline on the Bay of Bengal.
Cyclonic storms often threaten the fragile vessels of the fishers, and
their lives. Television weather forecasts are unreliable because power
supply in these parts is erratic.
"Radio Namaskar broadcasts high wind and cyclone warnings at short
intervals; its range extends 35 km out into the sea," says Gengri Mania,
40, who carries a radio when he accompanies his brother-in-law on fishing
Heavy rains and high floods often leave families stranded and huddling on
rooftops, sometimes for days together, as happened in the Gop
administrative block in September 2011.
"Radio Namaskar's dedicated mobile phone line was a life-saver," says Ali
Akbar Shah, 37, whose house was among the first to be hit by a huge body of
water when the Kushabhadra river embankment was breached.
Shah managed to grab a brace of seven mobile phone sets from his mobile
repair shop with which he kept up staedy communication with the CR on all
the three days that he and his neighbours were stranded on rooftops.
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