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Satellite phones to help Bihar fight Maoists, floods

Patna: Satellite phones will be installed at 85 places in Maoist and flood-affected districts of Bihar for better communications in times of emergency, officials said on Monday.

An official in the state general administration department said that satellite phones are an important tool to remain connected in times of natural and man-made crisis.

Satellite phones are an important tool to remain connected in times of natural and man-made crisis. Reuters

Ashok Kumar, an official of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), said that satellite phones will be installed soon after equipments arrive here.

"It is a matter of time before installation of satellite phones begins," Kumar said, adding that the delay so far was due to unavailability of equipment.

The top brass of the state police repeatedly said that satellite phones would prove a major help to security forces engaged in combing operations against Maoists.

Last year, the state police headquarters requested for satellite phones in the wake of connectivity problems faced by security personnel in areas where there is almost no cell phone network coverage.

Wider coverage is possible through satellite phone as it sends signals to the nearest orbiting satellite. The satellite connects to the ground station, which takes the call to the destination, police officials explained.

Policemen posted in the areas in Rohtas, Kaimur, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Munger, Banka, Nawada and Gaya districts had complained about connectivity problems during police and security operations in Maoist-hit areas. The superintendents of police in these districts had stressed on the need for satellite phones for anti-Maoists operations.

In the flood-prone districts of Sitamarhi, Supaul, Saharsa, Darbhanga, Katihar and Madhubani, satellite phones will be useful in rescue and relief operations during floods, an official of the state disaster management department said.

According to official figures, annually about 68,800 sq km of Bihar's 94,160 sq km territory is ravaged by floods. Every yaar, thousands of people and head of cattle perish and property worth millions of rupees is destroyed in floods in Bihar. Over 22 percent of the country's flood affected population lives in Bihar.

IANS