People in hundreds of villages in rural Bihar will no more be able to tune into their favourite radio station.
Radio Raghav FM Mansoorpur, Bihar's first private radio station run by Raghav Mahto, a poor and illiterate youth turned silent from Monday.
Radio Raghav was beaming the station, free of cost, for the past three years from Mansoorpur village in Bihar's Vaishali district.
Vaishali district magistrate Sanjeev Hans told rediff.com over telephone that Radio Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1 was closed for violating the Indian Telegraph Act.
Hans said action against Radio Raghav was taken by a three-member team of the Union communication ministry that visited Mansoorpur village on Sunday and seized the equipment used to run the radio station.
"They seized equipment for not possessing a licence to run a radio station," he said.
A first information report was also lodged in this connection.
Raghav Radio's trouble started early this month when district administration directed local officials to submit a report on the private radio station. The state government, too, sought a report after the news got wide media coverage.
The local villagers were, however, upset over government's action.
Raghav Mahto admitted that he was not aware that to run a radio station, one needed a licence. It was only when someone pointed it out to him that he realised that he was running an illegal business.
With hardly any money to pay for the medical expenses of his father who is suffering from cancer, Mahto said he had no money to pay for a licence.
The government may consider him an offender, but to the local, most of whom prefer the private station above the nation broadcast, Mahto is a hero.
The radio station, which became a household name in hundreds of villages in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali and Saran districts, ran like a community radio service providing news, views and entertainment in the local language.
"I used to broadcast melodious Hindi songs, news, information about crimes in the region, programmes to create awareness on AIDS, on polio eradication and on literacy and agriculture," said Mahto.
It also broadcast news about missing people, functions and festivals.