Himachal to promote amateur and Community Radio for Alternative Communication during Emergency

Himachal Pradesh is amongst the most sensitive areas for natural disasters. It has been observed that during natural disasters like earthquake, flood or landslides etc, the communication system of the affected areas is also affected, which leads to unnecessary delay in relief and rescue operations. In order to overcome these obstacles and strengthen the communication system, a plan to promote amateur radio has been prepared by the state government.

There are many remote areas in Himachal that remain cut-off in winters due to heavy snowfall and at times some regions are cut-off due to natural calamities like excessive monsoon rains, landslides and floods. Such areas face information blackouts when proper communication facilities are not available. The need to develop alternative means of effective emergency communication channels in such areas has been felt for a long time. In times of crisis, when wire lines, cell phones and other traditional means of communication fail, amateur radio comes to the rescue as a means of effective emergency communication channel.

Disruption of the communication system is the first setback during a disaster. Depending on the scale of the disaster, communication network infrastructure might get affected. In the worst case scenario, the entire communication network may break down. In such a situation, district and state response systems face problems in getting information about implementation and the progress of relief and rescue operations or regarding loss of life and property.

Keeping this in mind, a plan has been prepared by the state government under the State Disaster Management Authority. Formulated with the vision of ‘Alternative Communication during Emergencies’, through this the authority will promote alternative means of communication for emergencies and disasters through amateur (HAM) and community radio.

“A wireless communication network through Amateur Radio is one of the most effective and alternative means of communication. The skills of a trained amateur radio operator can be used for public service in times of need and emergency,” remarked Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

Necessary assistance will be provided to the interested volunteer or officer for the activities proposed under this scheme. Free training will be given to interested volunteers or government officials and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in HAM radio. A state examination will be conducted for HAM operators and free registration and licensing assistance will also be provided. A subsidy of up to Rs 60,000 will be provided towards the cost of basic HAM equipment to all persons who have passed the licensing examination. HAM radio clubs will also be established in educational and other institutions in the state to promote HAM radio.

Interested persons, after downloading the application form from the online link https://forms.gle/D4QXR5vnPuQ5GjZo8 can fill it and submit the same to the office of their nearest District Disaster Management Authority or State Disaster Management Authority.

For more information about this scheme, Training and Capacity Building Coordinator, DM-Cell, Revenue Department, can also be contacted. Apart from this, information can also be obtained by calling on mobile number 94183-53814 and landline number 0177- 2621154 or by sending queries on email id sdmahp@nic.in.

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