Protests hit telecom restoration work in cyclone-ravaged Bengal: Officials | Kolkata News

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Army personnel deployed to clean roads following the landfall of cyclone Amphan, in Kolkata . Thousands took t…Read More

KOLKATA: Continued protests in various parts of West Bengal for restoration of water and power supplies that have been disrupted due to cyclone Amphan hindered telecom service providers to normalise the communication, officials said on Sunday. Lack of coordination between local administrations and authorities of utilities such as power distribution companies also slowed the process of restoration, they alleged.
The department of telecommunications has closely been monitoring the progress of work for normalisation of telecom services in the cyclone-affected areas after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the state, the officials said.
“The primary objective of the telecom service providers is to end community isolation with restoration of at least voice service in the worst-hit areas while data services could be restored later,” an official said.
At least 50 per cent of base transceiver stations (BTS) of some operators are still down in the city and the adjoining districts — North and South 24 Parganas and Howrah — where cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc.
BTS is key network equipment that enables mobile voice and data communication.
“Restoration work for telecom service has severely been impacted. Our workers have not been allowed to work in various parts of the state as angry residents continued to stage protests, demanding immediate restoration of power and water,” a top BSNL official told .
Lack of coordination between local administrations and agencies has been “slowing the restoration process”, he said, adding that workers of local civic bodies and power distribution companies caused damage to optical fibres while clearing the fallen trees.
“Of 1,860 towers that house 3,200 BTS in the Kolkata circle of BSNL, around 800 tower sites are still down,” he said.
Reliance Jio said it has regained 70 per cent of their coverage with temporary solutions like mobile BTS and other mechanisms.
“Of around 5,000 BTS, a total of 1,100 are not in operational but mostly due to lack of power connection. We hope to cover around 90 per cent by tomorrow. We have deployed 500 teams from network companies,” a senior Jio official said.
Vodafone-Idea and Airtel did not respond to the queries about their network.
“It could take a month for the telecom services to be normalised,” an telecom official said.

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