The recent rain damage inflicted on Valparai has led to the decision of installing a ham radio station in the town in the coming months. The radio station will link the local taluk office to the amateur radio operators across the world along with district collectorate in Coimbatore and sub collector office in Pollachi. Amateur Radio Club in Pollachi has promised to establish the station free of cost and a permission has been sought from the government by Pollachi sub-collector, RanjanaSiddarthJagade. Once established, it would facilitate emergency communication during the time of calamities and disasters.
"The Uttarakhand disaster has prompted us to approach the authorities with such a proposal. An experimental station was set up at the taluk office on last Saturday and its functioning was explained to a set of revenue, fore force and forest officials. Based on their positive feedback, we have sought permission from the government through the sub-collector. The permission is expected to be granted soon and the radio station will be a reality in another month,'' said K Ibrahim, coordinator of Amateur Radio Club.
"In Uttarakhand, ham radio operators are playing a pivotal role in coordinating rescue works as normal telecommunication gave way in several places. A few years ago, an emergency situation prevailed in Ooty when the hill road was washed away due to heavy rains and all communication modes got affected. Valparai is more prone to calamities and reaching the plains in Pollachi or Chalakudy in Kerala remains risky as it requires travel through the ghat sections. Effective and fast communication is necessary to deal with emergencies,'' said Kasi Viswanathan, a ham radio operator from Udumalpet, who is also part of this mission.
"We are waiting for government's nod. Officials in Valparai have already shown keen interest in learning about ham radio operation. Collaboration among officials and ham radio operators can make things effective,'' he added. According to him, ham radio with wireless technology can work in climate where internet or mobile phones are un available.
Many houses were damaged and incidents of soil erosion were reported from Valparai, which witnessed heavy rainfall in the past week. "Taking Coimbatore district as a whole, Valparai is in more need of such a facility. A room at the taluk office can house the equipment,'' said Ibrahim.
According to him, ham radio operators across the globe can be contacted during emergency and they can channelise not just life-saving medicines but also a host of relief materials. He also plans to organise a workshop for youngsters in Valparai to make them aware about ham radio operation.
By K A Shaji, TNN Jul 4, 2013,