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Emergency no 112 to be available for disaster relief in 2 years; alert protocol in 4 yrs: NDMA official

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NEW DELHI: People will be able to use the emergency number 112 to seek help during any natural disaster in the next two years, a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) official said on Tuesday.

The NDMA is also working to roll out a common alert protocol that will use all communication mediums like SMS, mobile apps, radio and television in an automated manner to send out early warning messages to people in the danger zone.

“The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) is working on public safety… it is 112 single number emergency response system. It is being implemented for police, fire emergency, women and child protection and the next evolution is for disaster on which we are working. This will be rolled in two year or so,” NDMA Advisor, Operations and Communications, Brig Ajay Gangwar said.

Speaking at a COAI-Nokia virtual event, he said the government is also working on priority call routing which will give precedence to officials and agencies that will be first point of response for relief and rescue operations during any disaster like earthquake, cyclone or floods.

Gangwar said NDMA has done a pilot project for common alert protocol which sends out automated alerts to people and it will implemented across country in four years.

“We have already carried out a pilot in one of the state. We are in process of rolling it out pan-India. In four years we will be doing it.

“We would be working very closely with telecom operators on this particular project. There would be need for upgrading existing technology and embracing new solutions by the telecom service providers,” Gangwar pointed out.

He said the existing telecom infrastructure in the country is not disaster-resilient, specially mobile towers.

Telecom regulator Trai had in 2018 recommended setting up of a dedicated next generation public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) communication network to handle communications at the time of natural disasters.

“Keeping in mind the developments in wireless broadband technologies such as LTE, it is time we exploit these to enhance the efficiencies of the current communications infrastructure of PPDR agencies to enable them to use digital tools to meet the evolving needs of public safety and emergency communication,” COAI Director General S P Kochhar said.

Nokia’s Chief Technology Officer Randeep Raina said the country’s National Digital Communications Policy 2018 stresses on enhancing PPDR and establishing a pan-India network for the same.

“To overcome current challenges, LTE for public safety network brings many advantages and provides host of services like IoT, video streaming and is also scalable.

“We understand India wants to adopt LTE but spectrum availability is an issue, so we hope all stakeholders work in this direction to adopt new technologies,” Raina said.

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