Denial of Shifting permission of VU2NCT station to Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati

Ham Radio is a hobby which can play an important role in promoting a  do-it-yourself type attitude among the young citizens of our country and helping the society during the unwanted disasters. But ham radio is not getting proper encouragement from the concerned authority. It is also quite disheartening to see the retrograde attitude of those concerned. Ham radio popularisation is one of the major thrust areas of Vigyan Prasar.  Vigyan Prasar has organised a few demonstration & training programmes in some places. Vigyan Prasar has been constantly receiving letters, emails and phone calls from people who have not been given ham licences inspite of clearing the qualifying exams.

One such science club is Thiruvottiyur Ariviyal Mandram, Chennai, which has 16 members waiting for their licences since 1997 ! The licence issuing authority has been conducting Amateur Station Operator’s Certificate (ASOC) exams regularly, but candidates have been left high and dry for a long time after that. It has been observed that the delay is taking place everywhere without any valid reason. Ham radio is a hobby, it is very useful during emergency and disasters. Bans on its propagation contradicts our Government’s decision of popularising it. The same Govt. has included ham radio clubs in the list of possible activities to be promoted and funded under MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).

If terrorists and anti-social elements want to aquire sophisticated means of communication; they can and have been doing it. Why victimise only this great hobby ? Authorities cannot treat this as a necessary evil forever.
India claims to be one of the progressive countries in the field of science and technology. But alas! Whenever it comes to the issuing of a ham radio licence, law abiding citizens are getting humiliated. There are hundreds of cybercafes in New Delhi. Can the authority prevent any anti-social in entering these cybercafes and send an e-mail to his accomplices located at a distant corner of the world? Is it necessary for an anti-social to possess a sophisticated wireless set when he can do it more reliably from a cybercafe? The concerned authority has been constantly denying ham radio licences to the law abiding Indian citizens living in the North Eastern region of India. But can the proliferation of Internet, e-mail and other modern modes of communication be stopped in this space-age?

A cybercafe or a Public Call Office can be suitably utilized by anti-socials to pass on messages to their accomplices in other countries. Is it illogical to believe that the an anti-social will apply for a ham radio licence when he can smuggle wireless equipment from across the border (and in fact wireless equipment seized from many captured anti-socials itself proves that they don't require a ham radio operator's help to possess a wireless set!). Now the authority gives the reason that an wireless set possessed by a ham radio operator can be snatched away by an anti-social! There are many instances where anti-socials have been snatching weapons from the police forces itself. There are many instances where anti-socials have been using vehicles to kidnap innocent people and using knives to stab their victims.

Does it mean that the production of weapons be banned! Police men be devoid of weapons or citizens be banned from plying their cars! Then why this discrimination only against the innocent ham radio operators? It seems to be a matter of sheer disbelief which is not at all good for the health of a nation and national integration. This can further alienate the people living in the remote areas. A law abiding citizen with a technical bend should not be allowed to suffer just because of his proximity to some presumably hostile nations. Ham radio operators use frequencies which are monitored by a network monitoring stations of the concerned authority and clandestine happenings can be prevented with suitable location finding devices. This is a point of advantage that the authority knows the ham radio frequencies.

Anything going on doubtful can be monitored and prevented. The imported sophisticated ham radio equipment have the facility to operate within the ranges of allocated ham radio frequencies only. If a ham radio set can be snatched away there is no reason why a cellular or mobile phone can not be! Here is an interesting incidence to note! We could not obtain a permission to shift the equipment of VU2NCT club station to Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IITG) for the purpose of a ham radio workshop we have organised on the occasion of an annual technical festival (TECHNICHE-99) of IITG (Here, again, we are not clear why a club station cannot be shifted to an educational institute for exhibition/ demonstration purpose? We need your opinion about this!).

Courtesy - Vigyan Prasar VU2 NCT

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