‘Permanent solution’ for communication facility to CAPFs from inaccessible areas in full swing (IANS Exclusive)

New Delhi, Feb 12 : Communication with their family members would no longer be a rare occurrence for the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel deployed in inaccessible or far-flung areas of the country as the Central government has directed the Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) to find a "permanent solution" for the problem.

Work in this direction is already underway and re-provisioning of Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs) has been awarded to BBNL.

The project is being implemented by Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) as per the approval of the Digital Communication Commission, the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) recently shared the information with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the DOT is closely monitoring the reprovisioning of DSPTs on regular basis.

The document, accessed by IANS, reveals that the implementing agency was facing lot of difficulties due to the Covid-19 situation in transportation of materials and movement of installation team, but the work now has gone better with the situation getting better compared to previous months.

The BBNL and TCIL in close co-ordination with the MHA and the MoD agencies, however, are trying their level best for operationalising all the DSPT sites.

The DSPTs were sanctioned by the MHA to CAPFs to enable their personnel to communicate with their family members from far flung or inaccessible areas of the country.

These DSPT sites are provided subsidy from USOF.

The government's move to better communication systems in far flung areas came into effect after DSPT services completely stopped functioning with effect from May 13, 2019, due to satellite shutdown.

As a stop-gap arrangement, I-Sat phones were provided to CAPFs. But the number of I-Sat phones are less than the number of DSPTs.

To find a "permanent Solution" for the problem, a meeting was convened at the DoT on January 21, 2020, which was attended by officials of the MHA, Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Ministry of Defence, Army Head Quarters, Directorate of Coordination Police Wireless (DCPW) and BBNL.

In the meeting, three-point decisions were taken.

Of the three decision, the participating member decided to authorise BBNL to take up the work by diverting V-SAT terminals from the ongoing Bharat Net Satellite GP coverage scheme as a permanent solution to re-activate the connectivity to these far-flung locations.

It was also decided to providing voice call facility using voice calling over Internet/WiFi.

The MHA has examined the security implications for using voice over internet calls with the help of smart phone and provided its inputs to the DoT.

In its final decision, the MHA has provided the list of reconfirmed DSPTs in respect of all CAPFs as requested by DoT.

More than 10 lakh strong seven CAPFs comprise Assam Rifles (AR), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

These forces function under the MHA to ensure internal security as well as vigilance on borders with the neighbouring countries of China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

Several CAPF personnel are posted in the treacherous, mountainous and snowy terrains from where they cannot come to their houses for over three months.

Due to the lack of proper mobile connectivity, they cannot contact their family members for several days.

The government's move aimed at rectifying the communication issues permanently to help CAPF personnel as much it can do in exchange of their tough duties.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.s@ians.in)



Source: IANS