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Millennium Post

Polls: Ham radio link for Sunderbans' shadow zones

KOLKATA: To bridge the gap of connectivity, the South 24-Parganas district administration is taking the help of ham radio in the shadow zones of Sunderbans.

There are nearly 60 polling booths spanning across Patharpratima, Sagar, Ghoramara, Kakdwip and Gosaba area where connectivity including internet is a major challenge for the district administration.

"There are 2 booths in Ghoramara Islands that are located in extreme shadow zone where ham radio will provide us with 100 per cent support to ensure connectivity. In case of some other booths, the service providers including BSNL will be providing us support and wherever needed we will take the help of ham radio," District Election Officer (DEO), South 24-Parganas, Antara Acharya said.

The EC has instructed for webcasting exercise in at least 50 per cent of the booths across the state. Moreover, elections are being held at a time when the COVID- 19 pandemic is still rearing its ugly head. "So we have given utmost priority to address connectivity issue ," a senior official in the district administration said.

West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC)—an organisation of ham radio enthusiasts in the state on Wednesday received the nod from the Department of Telecommunication under the Ministry of Communication for the use of special call sign during March 29 to April 1, for providing communication support in mobile shadow zone. "We have a permanent ham radio station at Sagar and another station will be set up at the district headquarters in Alipore. We are surveying a spot midway from Alipore to Sagar for setting up another station. We are grateful to Onkar Nath Yadav, assistant wireless advisor of the ministry of Communications for giving us permission to use special call sign within a week," Ambarish Nag Biswas, custodian and secretary of WBRC said. WBRC has been instrumental in providing connectivity in the shadow zones during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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