Taking into consideration the recent devastation triggered by the torrential rains and landslides, the State Government has recognized a strong need to evolve an alternate means of communication during emergencies and disasters, particularly when the traditional infrastructure like phone lines and internet services are hampered severely. To address this concern, the State Government has given its nod to promote Amateur Radio (HAM) as an effective tool for alternate communication during emergencies.

Financial Assistance For HAM Radio Equipment In Himachal: Connecting Communities In Emergencies
Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu

Under this initiative, it is envisaged to create at least one HAM Radio Volunteer in each Sub Division of the State. These volunteers will serve as a vital link in establishing an alternate communication channel in case of any disaster or emergency, connecting with emergency operation centers at the State level and all district Emergency Operation Centers. To ensure the effectiveness of this Programme, HAM volunteers will be registered and granted licenses for the operation of the HAM Radios in accordance with the established norms.

To further support this effort, the State Government will provide financial assistance to the volunteers for purchasing the necessary equipment. The Government will cover 80 percent of the cost of the HAM equipment, with the remaining 20 percent to be borne by the volunteer. The State Government would also help in setting up new HAM Radio Clubs in educational institutions, strengthen the existing HAM Radio Clubs and impart training to the volunteers.

The skills of trained Amateur Radio Operators can be harnessed for public service in times of need and emergencies. “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 the emergency situations. It ensures that vital information can be transmitted even when other communication methods falter, potentially saving valuable lives and bolstering emergency response efforts.

During a crisis, this exchange of vital information is crucial between information sources, emergency managers and those who have been affected by the disasters,” remarked Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. 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. Therefore, the State Government has taken the decisive step to promote HAM Radio as a key tool for emergency communication in the face of challenging times, added the Chief Minister.

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