Centre allows ham radio enthusiasts to set up stations anywhere in India
Kolkata: The Centre has given the nod to ham radio enthusiasts to set up amateur radio stations anywhere in India except in restricted areas and has waived the 'change of location charge' that was earlier imposed on them.
"This decision is historic for the ham radio community. We often need to change location of our radio stations for various activities and for this we had to pay a certain charge to the Department of Telecommunication. But, from now on we will have to dole out no fees for such location change," said Ambarish Nag Biswas, custodian and secretary of West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC).
The ham radio operators across the country has time and again written to the ministry individually or through organisations urging it to waive the charge for location change. During the Ham Fest at Bengaluru, which was attended by senior ministry officials the three main ham radio organizations in the country Amateur Radio Society of India , National Institute of Amateur Radio and Indian Institute of Ham voiced their demand for such waiver.
"We undertake awareness programmes , research activities , hold seminars and similar other activities from time to time with ham radio and for this we have to change location. This will be a boost to such initiative," Nag Biswas added.
The ham radio operators are instrumental in establishment of communication facilities particularly during disasters when the communication network goes haywire. They have played key role in natural disasters like the Aila in 2009, the devastating Nepal earthquake in 2015 and the recent Fani cyclone in Odisha to name a few.
In Bengal, the WBRC takes active part in the Gangasgar Mela and plays a leading role in tracking of missing persons. The Election Commission of India recently sought help from WBRC during the Lok Sabha elections for communication support in mobile shadow zones under North 24 Parganas district.
There are 48 shadow zones in the entire district that includes urban places l ike Titagrah, Barrackpore, Ichapore, Bongaon , Madhyamgram and border areas like Hingalganj, Sandeshkhali, Basirhat etc. The areas fall under four LS constituencies Barrackpore, Bongaon, Barasat and Basirhat.