Thursday, 3 September 2009

YSR's chopper goes missing: Glaring security lapses exposed

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 2: It was security and administrative lapse all along.
Security advisors to the State government had not bothered to suggest that
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy carry a satellite telephone with him at
least while helihopping.

Worse, the team accompanying the chief minister of a progressive State does
not possess even the simple jungle survival kit. There's no emergency
position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) system with the chief security
officer. The team also did not bother to carry the Rs 150 blinker lamp, which
serves as a beacon light to attract the attention of rescue teams in case of

Only the government-owned BSNL has a cellular network in some pockets of
the thick Nallamala forests over which the helicopter carrying the chief
minister went missing. Ironically, none of the members of the Chief
Minister's team has a BSNL cell phone connection. They have either Airtel or
Idea, which do not have proper network in the jungle or countryside.

Moreover, the helicopter does not have a strong communication network
except for its very high frequency communication system. It has a limited
range and the VHF gets connected to the nearest police network as the
helicopter traverses through.

"We have not been using satellite phones. So we did not think of it," was the
casual reply of M Ramesh Reddy, one of the chief security officers of the
chief minister. The other chief security officer John Wesley is accompanying
the chief minister in the helicopter. He went on to say that the helicopter was
in good condition and was equipped with a VHF set, without knowing that
the very high frequency does not have wide range of communication, in
contrast to high frequency sets.

AP Aviation Corporation managing director KV Brahmananda Reddy also
admitted the security lapse when he said the Chief Minister's team was not
carrying a satellite phone for emergency communication. Modern satellite
phones are also equipped with distress radio beams, which sent out a unique
SOS signal which is repeated quite often. The signal can be detected from
virtually any point on the globe.

That the security advisors have taken the chief minister's security rather
lightly is evident from the fact that the team is equipped with only a pistol.
Given the thick forest area and the naxal threat in the Nallamala forests as
also the rugged hilly terrain, the chief security officer accompanying
Rajasekhar Reddy should have taken extra precautions. But he did not bother
to carry even a torch light as the team did not anticipate any trouble and the
flight was during the day.

The government also did not concentrate on providing small communication
towers in interior villages and deep in forest areas fearing Naxalite backlash.
Even the communication antennas set up by the forest department were
withdrawn when Naxalites were at their peak. The department had not
bothered to re-erect the communication system after the Maoist movement
took a beating recently.

Tech-savvy former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N
Chandrababu Naidu used to operate satellite telephone during emergency
situations and had even helped the Orissa government with one in late 1990s
when Orissa was hit by a devastating cyclone.

1 comment:

SUNGOD said...

You have thoroughly mistaken Ramesh. He is well-versed in technology. He is a best brain.

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