mass gatherings during lockdown Kolkata, Mar 26 (PTI) The Ham radio operators in West Bengal are helping police in tracking down mass gatherings and sending vagabonds to the shelters during the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Thursday.
Police in various districts have received inputs from licenced amateur radio operators in identifying spots and places where social gatherings have been taking place, a senior officer said.
'This helps us taking swift action against those who are defying the 21-day lockdown,' the police officer said.
The Ham operators have licences to conduct such communications under specific radio frequencies by the Union Ministry of Communications.
West Bengal Amateur Radio Club secretary Ambarish Nag Biswas said around 280 Ham operators are working round the clock in tracking down spots of social gatherings and also helping people, who are in distress, during the lockdown.
'After discussion with police, we have opened a helpline number and are using our network to track areas of social gatherings and rescuing people in distress. There is a chain through which the network is working,' Biswas told PTI.
Elaborating about their activities through the network, Biswas said there are around 10-12 Ham radio operators in each district, barring Darjeeling.
The operators use their local network to get information about social gatherings or vagabonds in their locality, Biswas said.
'They send their verified information to the West Bengal Radio Club. As soon as we get the message, we inform the specific district police control with the details of location. The police control rooms passed the information to patrolling van in and around the area through radio messages.
And suitable action is taken immediately,' Biswas explained.
Since Tuesday evening, around 60 cases of gatherings were reported by Ham radio operators across the state and around 17 vagabonds have been rescued and sent to shelters, he said.
Earlier this week, Ham radio operators helped police in rescuing an elderly woman who was staying alone at her home in Sodepur area in North 24 Parganas.
State Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan welcomed the initiative but emphasised on community counselling to stop violation of the lockdown.
More than 1,800 people were arrested in Kolkata since Monday evening for violating the lockdown guidelines, police said. PTI PNT BDC BDC