Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ministry looking into possibility of procuring compact phones

New Delhi, June 18: The Union Home Ministry is looking into the possibility of procuring new and compact satellite phones to enable paramilitary forces work without any communication handicap.

The move comes following an analysis of the naxal attack on a BSF camp in Bihar's Rohtas district during Lok Sabha polls when a satellite phone being used by a Deputy Commandant had proved to be a boon to counter the naxal attack.

At the time of the attack on April 15, when over 200 Naxals attacked the BSF camp set up near Rohtasgarh fort in Dhansa valley of Bihar, the lone deputy commandant with a satellite phone given by local administration had informed the state Director General of Police and his own DG in the national capital.

"All other communication equipment were down except the satellite phone. Both the DGs were on the phone and were coordinating the counter attack. When the Naxals fired the roacket launcher at the camp, the men were asked over the satellite phone not to open any fire," an official said.

"The naxals waited for half and hour and then fired some random shots. Thinking that the BSF men were killed in the rocket attack, the naxals came out of hiding and walked towards the camp. That is when the BSF started firing all guns forcing the Naxalites to flee," the official said.

Sources said in many operations carried out by CRPF personnel in thick jungles of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh, the men continue to remain incommunicable for long durations.

"The VHF and other communication devices have their limits. Once you enter the thick forests, there will be no signal. Only satellite phones works during such times and hence there is a need to equip the forces with more such phones which should also be smaller and compact," sources said adding the current availability of satellite phones with the forces is very low.

Majority of satellite phones being used by the paramilitary forces are bulky making them difficult to be carried in tough terrain.

Bureau Report

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