A news item published in The New Indian Express (Chennai Edition).

Monday, November 25, 1996

HAM Radio's Role 'Crucial In Developing Nations'

CHENNAI, Nov. 24 - Amateur radio could have become an anachronism in the present cellular world, but in the present cellular world, but in under-developed and developing countries the role which they still had to play was crucial, Sonia Gandhi said here today.

Delivering the valedictory address at the International Amateur Radio Convention - Rajiv Gandhi Memorial SEANET '96, she said amateur radio operators played a crucial role in most parts of the world at times of natural calamities as they were the only dependable mode of communication.

Recealling her husband's involvement in amateur radio, as a pilot and throughout his political career, he would communicate with other hams, with the set which he designed. Her involvement itself was at the instance of Rajiv, who in later year roped in their children too into this hobby.

Even before his assassination, Rajiv Gandhi (VU2RG) regularly used the radio. he intercepted a call of help from Red Cross during the Bangladesh floods, and immediately alerted the radio network to help communications. The last call he made was at Visakapatnam on 21 May 1996, a few hours before he died, she said.

Sonia also remarked that her husband even allocated resources for training HAM users belonging to certain institutions. The Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Trust (of which she is the chairperson), was contributting to the promotion of radio networks, she asserted.

In this day and age, when everything had a price, it was heartening to see hordes of people assembled for the pure pleasure of activity and service, she remarked.

TMC president G.K.Moopanar and TNCC president Kumari Anantham participated in the function. A shawl woven in gold and silk, with the image of Rajiv Gandhi was presented to the Memorial.

Madras Amateur Radio Society president Dr. S.Suresh. SEANET '96 chairman M.Saravanan, vice-chairman Gopal Madhavan, and organising secretary R. Ravikrishnan were present.

The next convention is scheduled to be held in Darwin, Australia in the second weekend of November 1997.

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