Fifteen months after their heroic exploits in the aftermath of the tsunami that claimed several hundred lives and wreaked unprecedented havoc in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a team of amateur radio operators is back in Port Blair.
Recognising the critical role played by the Hams in the emergency communication between Port Blair and the mainland after the earthquake-triggered tidal waves hit the islands, the government has agreed to sponsor the "Hamfest (VU4) India 2006" from April 18 to 20.
The ministries of information technology and tourism are sponsoring the festival along with the Andaman and Nicobar administration. Lieutenant-governor Ram Kapse will inaugurate the event, which is also supported by ministries of defence, home affairs and human resources development.
The chairman of the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Amateur Radio, Mr S. Suri, said the members of the "Dx-pedition" in Port Blair in December 2004 mobilised their resources to provide humanitarian service to support essential rescue and relief operations. "[Since then] several requests were forwarded to NIAR from international amateur radio organisations, ‘Dx’ forums and individual Hams to organise a suitable event in a befitting manner to highlight the benefits of amateur radio for social and scientific development," he said.
"The services of these amateur radio operators were appreciated by several agencies at home and abroad," Mr Suri added. "The conference will serve as a forum for presentation and discussion on emergency communication and latest technological developments in amateur radio."
A participant, Bharathi Prasad, told this newspaper from Port Blair that about 38 Hams from Italy, Germany, Japan, the United States, Poland and France are participating besides 60 Hams from India. She says one of the several objectives of the festival will be to promote tourism. Ms Prasad and four others, including her husband and son, were in Port Blair when the tsunami struck.
Author: Ramesh Ramachandran
Source: The Asian Age.