A news item published in The Hindu (Chennai Edition ).

November 23, 1996

Mayor's to consider requests of MARS

CHENNAI, Nov. 22, The Rajiv Gandhi Memorial SEANET '96 (South East Asia Network), the 24th international convention of amateur radio operators began here today.

Inguarting the convention . Mr. M.K.Stalin Mayor of Chennai, said his office would consider he requests of the madras Amateur Radio Society (MARS), the organiser of the event.

The HAMs (amateur radio operators) had made the concept of global village a relally, he said. However, it was sad that out of a total of three million operators in the world, only 8,000 were from India.

In his keynote address, Mr. N.Ravi, Editor The Hindu, urged the HAMs to aim at devising a network similar to the Internet 'on air'. It was challenge to re-orient the hobby of amateur radio in the present communication senario and in this context, Internet, too, offered new opportunities.

The apprehension about the threat to national security by HAMs was unfounded in the era of modern telecommunication and Internet, he said, compared to modern methods, it could not be the preferred mode of communication of sescrets at all. Still, in countries like India, enthusiasts had to go through procedures like police verification and security clearance to get a licence thereby discouraging the spread of the hobby. There was no such condition in using Internet and in this context,he urged the HAMs to press for a redraft of the entry requirements.

Mr. Ravi requested the Mayor of Chennai to promote setting up of radio clubs for high school students in the Corporation school to give a fillip to HAM activity. He also requested Mr. Stalin to consider amateur radio also, in case the Chennai corporation revived its scheme of granting unused space or parks for organisations such as sports clubs.

Film actor Kamal Hassan, an amateur radio operator, inaugurated a special radio station installed to mark the even and made the first radio contact by talking to a HAM in Bangkok.

Dr. S.Suresh,President, MARS welcomed the gathering and Dr. M.Gajapathy Rao. Organisin Secretary, SEANET '96, proposed a vote of thanks Mr. M.Saravanan, Chairman, SEANET '96, proposed a vote of thanks Mr. M.Saravanan, Chariman, SEANET '96, Mr. K.S.Raja, Vice Chairman and Mr. K.Krishnan, RPG Cellular were present on the occasion.

Nearly 200 HAMs from various parts of the world, including about 90 from India were participating in the three-day event which creates a platform for several operators, who have been in touch through radio, to meet one another.

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