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Radio enthusiasts to help voters in areas with no mobile network

Residents of mobile shadow zones in N-Pgs to get poll-related updates through amateur radio

Radio enthusiasts to help voters in areas with no mobile network

Kolkata: For the first time in the history of Lok Sabha elections in the state, West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC) along with Indian Academy of Communication and Disaster Management will offer communication support through ham radio in mobile shadow zones in North 24-Parganas district.

Mobile shadow zones are the areas where there is no mobile network and connectivity. These radio hams will provide information on poll security arrangement, updates on voting process, turnout of voters and various announcements on poll-related issues.

WBRC, which is an organization of ham radio enthusiasts in the state, has got special permission from the Union ministry of Telecommunication in establishing communication through amateur radio in mobile shadow zones.

The West Bengal Radio Club will soon conduct mock drill in such zones to ensure proper communication with the residents of these areas during the election.

The organization has been instrumental in setting up communication infrastructure in such zones during the state assembly elections in 2016 and during panchayet elections in 2013.

"We have received a letter from the District Magistrate and district election officer (DEO) of North 24-Parganas Antara Acharya today (Friday) instructing us to make necessary arrangements for uninterrupted communication through ham radio. We have been informed that necessary logistic support such as vehicles, electricity or battery, accommodation, food, table, chair and bamboo for each radio antenna will be provided by the DEO," said Ambarish Nag Biswas secretary of WBRC.

According to a sources, there are 48 shadow zones in the district which includes urban places such as Titagrah, Barrackpore, Ichapore, Bongaon, Madhyamgram and border areas such as Hingalganj, Sandeshkhali and Basirhat.

The areas fall under four LS constituencies —Barrackpore, Bongaon, Barasat and Basirhat.

Barrackpore and Bongaon will go to polls on May 6 in the fifth phase while Barasat and Basirhat will vote in the last phase on May 19.

The secretary of WBRC on behalf of the radio club had written to the DEO on March 14 expressing its desire to provide support in the shadow zones in the district.

"There will be a total of 48 hams — one ham each for each shadow zone. They will be responsible for establishing liaison with all the communication stations such as the DM office, BDO office and SDO office during the election. They will be providing information on whether the polling party has reached properly, what is the security arrangement, regular update of the polling process and the percentage of voting," said Subir Datta, president of WBRC.

SOUMITRA NANDI

SOUMITRA NANDI

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