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Himachal Pradesh to promote HAM radio for emergency communication

The Himachal Pradesh government has given its nod to promote amateur or HAM radio as an effective tool for alternate communication during emergencies, officials said on Monday.

The government has also planned to create at least one HAM radio Volunteer in each sub-division of the state, they added.

Considering the recent devastation triggered by torrential rains and landslides, the government recognised the need to evolve an alternate means of communication during emergencies and disasters, particularly when traditional infrastructure such as phone lines and internet services are hampered severely, a statement issued here on Monday said.

“Exchange of vital information is crucial between information sources, emergency managers and those who have been affected by the disasters during a crisis, therefore a decision has been taken to promote HAM radio as a key tool for emergency communication,” the statement quoted Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu as saying.

During monsoon and winter seasons, several areas including Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba and Kinnaur districts experience communication system failure. In such circumstances, the promotion of HAM radio as an alternate means of communication is expected to be invaluable.

The government said the volunteers at the sub-division level will serve as a vital link in establishing an alternate communication channel in case of any disaster or emergency, connecting with emergency operation centres at the state level and all district emergency operation centres.

To ensure the effectiveness of this programme, HAM volunteers will be registered and granted licenses for the operation of the HAM radios as per the established norms. To further support this effort, the state government will provide financial assistance to the volunteers for purchasing the necessary equipment, the statement added.

The government will cover 80 per cent of the cost of the HAM equipment, with the remaining 20 per cent to be borne by the volunteer. It would also help in setting up new ‘HAM Radio Clubs’ in educational institutions, strengthen existing ones and impart training to the volunteers.

“Amateur radio is of utmost importance in emergency communications, as it becomes a lifeline when wire lines, cell phones and other conventional means of communications fail. It can cover long distances allowing emergency responders to coordinate efforts effectively in response to emergency situations,” the statement added. PTI

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