Media: The advent of mobile phones in the country has eased the life of tshogpa Bopo Drukpa. The local government leader of Khotakpa, a rural village in Pemagatshel has a better and cheaper option now.

Khotakpa, Yalang and Denchi (KYD) community radio on 91.1 FM went on air from yesterday.

The 41-year-old tshogpa said that the community radio will bring about immense benefit to his community.

“My work as a tshogpa will become much easier now as we would be able to use radio to inform people about various meetings and disseminate other important messages immediately,” Bopo Drukpa said. “I am really happy, the radio station will both inform and entertain us.”

Another villager, Namgay Wangdi, 37, said the community could reap a lot of benefit from the newly established community radio.

“Ours is a very remote village,” he said. “I see the radio airing important agriculture and health related information because it is coming from a local and our own station it will be helpful to us,” he said.

Information and communications minister DN Dhungyel launched the radio established by READ Bhutan with Swiss Development Cooperation Bhutan’s funding and in partnership with the ministry.

The first community radio in Pemagatshel can be heard in nine neighbouring villages reaching more than 480 households.

“The community radio will provide opportunity for people to discuss social issues and propose local solutions,” Lyonpo DN Dhungyel said.

“It will also provide an enhanced access to educational information and resources.”

READ Bhutan country director, Karma Lhazom said that the main objective of setting up a community radio is to inform rural farmers.

“It will also increase local awareness on democratic values and principles and connect the far flung villages of Pemagatshel valley, which are otherwise fairly isolated from each other,” she said.

READ Bhutan trained staff to manage the station and also produce programmes.

“We also have a group of volunteers who were trained in radio jockeying and formed a radio management committee,” an official from READ Bhutan, Ngawang Phuntsho said.

Students and farmers staged cultural programmes during the event.

The KYD Community Radio project was initiated last year and the station is housed at the Khotakpa Community Library and Resource Centre (READ Centre) established in 2014.

Tshering Palden