earthquake in Gujarat brought in its wake a large-scale
devastation and a total black-out in terms of information flow
from the quake-hit areas. The Department of Telecom (DoT)
infrastructure at Ahmedabad, Bhuj and nearby areas was
extensively damaged. Since, no communications existed, 'damage
assessment' and 'coordination' for rendering assistance became
rather difficult. In this situation of a communication
black-out the Army Signallers came to the rescue of the
victims by opening their communication links to Ahmedabad.
Using very small aperture satellite terminals communication
was restored between Bhuj and Hathma. Communications forwarded
to Bhuj were also maintained on radio relay. Two mobile
satellite terminals were also flown to further reinforce the
meagre communications for disaster relief communications.
round the clock, the Army Signallers put into action the plan
to beef up communications and provide essential communications
in order to restore the critical flow of information.
Resources were mobilised on a war footing and a multispectrum
communication setup was evolved. Ten satellite terminals,
eleven high frequency radio sets and telephone cable for
land-line communications were rushed to the quake-hit areas.
Suitable reserve communication resources were also placed 'on
call' to aid the authorities engaged in civic action
programmes. With the resources in place, a 'guard wave' using
high frequency radio sets was also established which connected
Jodhpur, Ahmedabad, Dharangdlra, Jamnagar and Bhuj. A radio
net for relief columns was also established. Apart from
INMARSAT communications, links on radio relay were established
between Army exchanges and civil DoT exchanges for better
engineers took upon themselves the task of clearance of
blocked roads and arteries in Sukhpur village. Taking a
proactive stance, Col Suresh Sharma, CO 54 Engineer Regiment
chose this village intuitively as suitable task for one of his
task forces, while carrying out reconnaissance in his area of
responsibility. Annoyed with no response from any agency, the
village heads were initially reluctant even to speak but the
truthfulness in his promise endeared the Colonel to the
villagers, who then responded with their quick cooperation.
Soon 'plan of action'
was drawn and men and machines were deployed under Maj Rajesh
Jindal. Next to be braided were loose pieces of earthmoving
plant belonging to various civil agencies. A group of fifty
villagers with ex-sarpanch Ramjee Bhai as their head joined in
with ten tractors and trolleys. This composite task force
cleared the priority areas so that rebuilding activity could
start immediately. In addition, two schools were made
functional, water supply restored and augmented and assets
worth crores belonging to Union Bank of India recovered.
"I had only heard earlier but have now experienced what
good leadership can achieve. While Colonel treats me and my
operators like his own men, it is a pleasure to work with this
outfit", said Mr Jain, Executive Engineer-in-Charge of
all civil machinery working on the site.
input : PRO