E-auctioning starts for 266 FM channels

The government on Monday initiated the process for e-auctioning 266 FM radio channels in 92 cities, including strategically important areas like border towns of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.
The information and broadcasting (I-B) ministry issued the notice inviting applications with a deadline for August 1. The much-anticipated move is expected to bring radio services to small towns and cities. The Modi government has been instrumental in popularising radio through his monthly talk show `Mann Ki Baat'.
Of 69 new cities taken up for auction in the second batch, 20 with 111 channels have a population of 3-10 lakhs and 38 with 117 channels cater to a population of 1-3 lakhs. About 11 cities in border areas of Jammu-Kashmir and the northeast with population of up to 1 lakh with 33 channels have also been included.
The notice comprises eligibility criteria, application procedures, reserve prices of channels, frequencies available for selection, auction rules, and is aimed at inviting applications from interested companies for participation in the auction, an official statement said.
Hyderabad is the only metro city that is part of the auction with one frequency up for sale while tier II cities Asansol (West Bengal) and Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) will see auction of two frequencies each.
In category C, cities with population of 3-10 lakh cities like Akola, Bellary , Bhavnagar, Mysuru, Kurnool, Muzaffarnagar, Puducherry , Vellore, Salem, Saharanpur and Tirupati are included among others. In category D, towns with population of 1-3 lakhs like Godhra, Itarsi, Itanagar, Mandsaur, Rewa, Neemuch, Shivpuri, Warda and Yavatmal are included.
In J&K strategic towns, including Kargil, Leh, Kathua, Pooch and Bhaderwah, are part of the phase III auction. The towns in the Northeast included in this phase are Dhubri and Haflong in Assam, Jowai in Meghalaya, Lung-Lei in Mizoram, Mokukchung in Nagaland and Belonia in Tripura.

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