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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 10:

People should change their mindset about villages where the populace is equally aspirational in attaining heights in career, popular RJ (radio jockey) turned journalist Neelesh Misra said on the sidelines of ‘Odisha Nirman Conclave-2016’ here today.

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“The face or rural India is changing fast whether it is for good or bad. Villages are no longer the same as it used to be. After the satellite channels’ proliferation, reporters have stopped visiting villages. There have been changes in the rural areas but we were not being told… not only to the citizen but also to government and policymakers. The news and developments about rural India did not reach urban people as well as policymakers. So the policies made were based on ideas that were fossilized, that were based in the past,” a multifaceted personality Neelesh Misra said.

Recounting the hardships he encountered in bringing out rural newspaper ‘Gaon Connection’ Misra said: “If I would have foreseen the hardships involved in it, I would not have ventured into it. I had to sell my house and invest the money in it.”

People asked two things when I started the newspaper. Firstly, what would be the content that would go in the newspaper? Secondly, who would read them in the villages? In few years of its inception, it has won prestigious Ramnath Goenka award and Ladli Award beating mainstream English newspapers, he quipped.

He expressed satisfaction and response over the reach of the newspaper. “Now, even a tweet makes a lot of difference. It has its impact on police establishment, CMO etc.”

The popular RJ recalled his last visit to Odisha as a reporter with international news agency Associated Press to cover super cyclone in 1999.

“I was posted in Kolkata and assigned to cover super cyclone in 1999. As means of communication had almost collapsed, I had to travel by road. I was almost swept away near Balasore as I fell into a gorge created after incessant rainfall. Luckily, I was rescued by paramilitary personnel,” Misra recalled.

Towards the fag end of the session, Neelesh narrated a story in his barritoned voice following a request from Input Editor of Kanak News Swayamprakash Mohapatra.

Executive Director of Sambad Tanaya Patnaik moderated the session and presented a filigree work of Konark chariot wheel replica to Neelesh.