Himachal Pradesh has geared up to equip itself to strengthen communication network with ISAT satellite phones to tackle natural disasters.

The statewide communication mock drill was conducted under the supervision of Principal Secretary (Revenue-DM) Onkar Chand Sharma from the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) here on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Sharma said that the state government has added a layer of satellite phones to improve the emergency communication learning from the experiences of monsoon 2018 and winter 2019 where the communication system was badly affected.

He said that now the state has 65 ISAT (satellite phones) out of which 28 are with Disaster Management department at state, district headquarters and remote or difficult Sub-Divisions namely Kaza, Udaipur, Pangi, 7 at tribal locations in Kinnaur district whereas Police has 37 ISATs throughout the state.

The Principal Secretary said that the state government has issued detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for maintenance and up keeping of these satellite phones and their availability during a disaster situation.

Sharma also shared that in the coming days the state government would be adding 8 more ISAT phones on the blackout zones on Manali-Leh route with the help of an organization Pragya (under their project with Royal Enfield).

“Besides this, some more ISAT phones on the requisition received from the Deputy Commissioners for providing the ISAT phones in tribal and remote areas of their respective district will also be added,” he said.

The mock drill was conducted from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm by calling all the ISAT phones at different locations. A detailed report for the mock drill was also generated at the SEOC.