As India goes into a 21-day nation-wide lockdown till April 14, phone services is likely to hit as telecom industry is facing problem in getting access to diesel-powered telecom towers that could pose a threat to the continuity of telecom services, according to report. During the times of lockdown, telecom is one of the essential services that need to be remain operational.
According to CNBCTV18 reports, local authorities have asked the personnel of the telecom service providers at network operation centers and call centers to shut operations in view of the restrictions. Following which, Department of Telecommunications (DoT)’s Secretary Anshu Prakash had wrote two letters dated Mar 21 and Mar 24 to the chief secretaries of states and administrators of Union Territories (UTs) to ensure essential telecom services remain unaffected during the time of lockdown.
Industry insiders pointed out that orders and guidelines issued at the top, in many cases, are yet to reach those on the ground, leading to miscommunication and misunderstanding, as per report.
TR Dua, DG told CNBCTV18, “Regular maintenance is critical for telecom operations and for providing smooth telecom services. Manpower on-the-ground needs continued access to towers for supplying, replenishing diesel.”
On-ground staff need continued access to towers for maintenance of batteries, O&M on regular basis and they need to identify potential dangers to tower sites, he added.
To be noted, telecom services are supported by a vast number of telecom towers, a large percentage of which are diesel-powered. Despite the letter from the DoT advisor, telcos had been facing problems on the ground as far as operations of critical telecom infrastructure was concerned.
So, due to lack of access to on-ground personnel to replenish diesel on-site and to carry out maintenance works could potentially hurt the smooth operation of telecom operations and services.
Officials also pointed out that these problems of access were particularly acute in some states like Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka as vehicles ferrying diesel for the generators lighting up the telecom towers were turned away by police personnel from checkpoints.
Another issue pointed out is that the in many areas, helplines which are meant to provide support, have not been activated. The industry has also made an appeal for the appointment of a nodal officer by each state, who would coordinate with and facilitate the movement of in-ground personnel.