New Delhi: Remember the iconic ‘Sandeshe Aate hain’ song from 1997 movie Border, wherein soldiers staying away from their homes would fervently wait for a letter from their loved ones? Even though much has changed since then, our jawans who are posted in remote areas still face a lot of difficulty in communicating with their families. However, all that is soon set to change as the Modi government has directed the Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) to find a ‘permanent solution’ for this long-standing problem by providing them Digital Satellite Phone Terminals. Notably, the move will benefit 10 lakh of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel deployed in inaccessible or far-flung areas of the country.Also Read - Video of Kiren Rijiju Singing for Indian Army Jawans Goes Viral | Watch

The government’s move to better communication systems 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.

Work is underway

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).

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 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 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.

Finding a permanent solution

To find a 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. Of the three decisions taken during the meet, 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.

Hardships faced by our jawans

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.

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).

(With IANS inputs)