After its successful attempt to place Sagar Island in West Bengal on the Islands on The Air (IoTA) map in January this year, the West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC), an organisation of amateur radio enthusiasts from the state, will attempt to get it recognised as a park and beach on the air during the forthcoming Gangasagar Mela.
Amateur radio operators or HAMs from across the world look out for transmissions from remote locations such as islands, national parks and beaches. Apart from IoTA there are listings of Parks on The Air (PoTA) and Beaches on The Air (BoTA). This helps in getting the location international recognition.
While Sagar Island is not a national park, it is the largest and most populated of the more than 100 islands in the Sundarbans delta.
With people from across the world coming to know of such places, there are international efforts to tackle problems such as sea level rise due to climate change — a major problem faced by the Sundarbans. Sagar Island has a beach where millions of pilgrims gather during Makar Sankranti every year for the Gangasagar Mela. This is when members of the WBRC visit the island to maintain communication links and help the state administration in case of any disaster.
“Our team also helps in locating people who go missing during the Mela. Over the years, we have also helped hundreds of people left behind at the Mela site by tracing their families. Apart from this, we do our best to get recognition for the Island and the event, which is considered the second largest such gathering in the world after the Kumbha Mela. While Sagar is already on the IoTA map, we will try to get it enlisted as a park and beach as. We want more people to know about the Island,” says Ambarish Nag Biswas, secretary, WBRC.
The Kapil Muni Ashram and Temple is also located on Sagar Island. This temple is the reason why pilgrims flock to the island in January every year.
The WBRC also plans to try and get this Temple recognised as a Temple on The Air (ToTA). This endeavour was first started by a group of Indonesian HAMs to get international recognition for temples in their country, Nag Biswas adds.
The Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing, Ministry of Communications,, has allotted WBRC a special call sign ‘AT2WBRC’ to transmit from Sagar Island between January 5-17, 2023.