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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2582

"Sri Lanka Vanoli" to establish a link of friendship between India and Sri Lanka

Raja Arambewela for Asian Tribune

Colombo, 03 December, ( "To establish a link of friendship between the two countries; India and Sri Lanka" said, the chairman of the SLBC Mr. Hudson Samarasinghe, clasping his hands in a gesture of unity, in reply to a question posed by the Asian Tribune. He is happy and full of gusto for, the new radio service; "Sri Lanka Vanoli" started only a little over a month ago is already gaining popularity. Looking at a senior employee of the Corporation he said, "can you remember how even Sri Nehru talked about our service those days, I want to bring it to that stage or to go beyond".Jayakrishnaraja, Director of the Service announcing while some of staff looks on.Jayakrishnaraja, Director of the Service announcing while some of staff looks on.

A Senior Official, in the SLBC, Mr. Thirugnasundaram explaining about the new service said that, this new Tamil Radio Service beaming mainly towards Jaffna and India is called "Sri Lanka Vanoli" (Sri Lanka Radio or Radio Sri Lanka to be more effective). Sometime back this service had to be stopped he said, due lack of funds as advertisements stopped coming in with the banning of Hindi songs. But now, the Chairman, keen in resurrecting this service, had discussions with the Indian High Commission and as a result Airtel India - the Indian Telecom giant has come into an agreement to provide advertisements. When considering the popularity the SLBC had earlier, it is not a very difficult task, though some perseverance, dedication and hard work are needed to resurrect this Service.

Talking about the Popularity the SLBC had, he said that, once Sri Jawaharlal Nehru had said "if you want to listen to the world, listen to the Radio Ceylon – (which was subsequently succeeded by Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporations now called Sri Lanka)".

Mrs Nirupama Rao, the former High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka too has mentioned that she has been listening to SLBC, liked it so much and even learned to sing English songs by listening to it. Not only they, who lived or live in India, but even Sir Edmund Hillary who conquered Mount Everest has said that one thing he heard first as he climbed to summit was SLBC on his radio. He has said that, he heard it as if it was being relayed from his doorstep. There was a time it seems, that when some people went to buy radios in India, the one question they asked the dealer was whether they can listen to Ceylon Radio ? "Such was the popularity the SLBC programmes had in India those days" said Thiru.

So, the Chairman, Mr. Hudson Samarasinghe is trying make use of all this popularity not only to bring back the SLBC to its former glory and to take it beyond but also to achieve his ambition to establish a link of friendship between Sri Lanka and India and to carry on the humanitarian service of helping our people to find their loved ones who were separated by the war.

Sri Lanka Vanoli is now on air between 7.00am to 11.00am as a starter. "Initially we are providing mainly entertainment and a little news. And for entertainment we provide mainly old songs".

"These old songs are very popular in India as radio channels in India, now mostly go for new songs and they do not have much access to old songs".

"In fact", Mr. Thirugnasundaram further said, "we have the best song library in the whole of Asia: not only Hindi or Tamil but all other songs". "And to give this Service a further popularity we also plan to bring back a few famous announcers who were there earlier".

In addition to this, as we have mentioned earlier, the SLBC has started a new Humanitarian Programme called Uravai Thedum Paravaigal (Birds in search of relations) through this channel to provide a very useful link between people separated by the war. There are so many people who live in the North and elsewhere in Sri Lanka and in India who do not have any contact with their loved ones who were separated. These people do not have any contact with their family members, relatives and friends. They do not know their whereabouts or even whether they are alive.

Through this service people can call ‘Sri Lanka Vanoli’ and give information about them and their loved ones and ask them or any one listening who has any information about them to call back so that this service can establish a link between them and their loved ones.

An overjoyed official, the Director of this Service, Mr. Jayakrishnaraja, said "we have already started getting calls from people in India, Jaffna, other parts of Sri Lanka and yesterday we even got a call from Wanni and I am very happy that we could establish a couple of links already". He said that, this programmed is aired between 9.00 and 11.00am and further to strengthened the cause, this programme, Uravai Thedum Paravaigal get together with the normal Tamil Service Thendral in a joint broadcast.

It is evident that the Chairman’s keenness and enthusiasm on this has permeated down to the staff too.

- Asian Tribune -

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