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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Kullu police seek satellite phones, GPS for trekkers' safety

Dipender Manta, Hindustan Times  Kullu, September 16, 2013
First Published: 17:47 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 18:37 IST(16/9/2013)

To ensure the safety of trekkers in the tough terrain of Kullu district, the Kullu police department has sent a proposal to the state government to provide satellite phones and global positioning system (GPS) to trekkers in the district, which would help police in search operations of trekkers, who lose way while trekking in the hills of the district.

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Kullu additional superintendent of police RS Jamwal said, “We have sent a proposal of seven satellite phones and 24 global positioning systems (GPS) to the state government for the safety of trekkers in the district.”

He said, “Due to tough geographical conditions in the interiors, landline as well as mobile phones often does not work due to poor network. In the situation, satellite phone would prove an advantage to locate the location of trekkers.”
He said, “Lack of communication network and no other way to find the exact position of the missing trekkers has proved a biggest hindrance in carrying out effective search and rescue operations.”

“Keeping this in mind, we have submitted a proposal to the state government to procure satellite phones and satellite-linked GPS,” added Jamwal.

He said satellite phones and GPS would help in saving precious lives of missing trekkers during emergency.

He said, “All private tour operators in Kullu district have been asked not to conduct treks without informing the police. A trekking team would have to inform the police about the route plan of the group and provided a satellite phone and GPS to enable quick tracking in case of any emergency.”

He said the use of satellite phones was banned in Himachal Pradesh, but in the wake of safety of trekkers it has been decided to fix a frequency of satellite phone to ensure safe use of the device. “It will be used during emergency by the trekkers and no international call would be allowed. These phones would be allotted to the group on rent and only after depositing security.”

The use of satellite phones for personal and commercial use is prohibited in the country. Only security agencies and defense forces could use it legally.

The data collected by the Hindustan Times reveals that 20 foreigners had gone missing during trekking in the district since 1991 from Manikaran, Naggar, Manali and Parvati areas.

The scenic Kullu valley attracts thousands of tourists from foreign countries as well as in different parts of India every year.

Considered as the best place for tourists, Kullu district has earned a bad name for cannabis cultivation and missing trekkers.

Details of missing foreign nationals

Swiss nationals-2
Yugoslavian-1
Australian-4
US nationals - 3
Dutch-2
Irish-1
British-1
Israeli-3
Canadian -1
Russian-1
Italian-1


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