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01 June, 2020, 06:36 PM IST

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INDIA MOBILE TOWERS

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Amphan impact: Mobile, broadband normalcy in West Bengal, Kolkata circles only next week

Droves of mobile users in Kolkata and rest of West B...

  • Operators Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm, equipment maker Ericsson and a few tower and telecom infrastructure firms are incentivising employees with cash rewards and e-vouchers.

    Staff availability issues because of back-to-back lock downs have compounded the problem. This comes at a time when carriers are trying to boost network capacities to meet a surge in data demand as millions are working from home amid the coronavirus crisis.

    Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (VIL) have tested ICR arrangements in advance to ensure all telecom operators in the impacted states can collaborate and use each other’s networks wherever required once Amphan strikes, and people can stay connected.

    "So far as per the reports we have received, 72 people have died in the state due to Cyclone Amphan. Two districts - North and South 24 Parganas are completely devastated. We have to rebuild those districts from scratch. I would urge the Central government to extend all help to the state," Banerjee said after conducting a review meeting with officials.

    The IMD said under the influence of the storm, squalls with wind speed 30 to 40 kilometres per hour are very likely in Meghalaya and west Assam during the next 12 hours.

    Buses and taxis crashed against each other, small fishing boats turned turtle and grounded planes shook at the inundated Kolkata airport as winds of up to 190 kmph rampaged through West Bengal, already reeling under the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown caused by it.

    The fiercest cyclone to hit West Bengal in 100 years destroyed mud houses and crops, uprooted trees and electric poles. It also wreaked havoc in Odisha, killing at least six people and damaging power and telecom infrastructure in several coastal districts. Odisha government officials estimated the cyclone has affected around 44.8 lakh people in the state.

    Telecom companies have urged the government to allot necessary 5G bandwidth for free to augment wireline connectivity in the wake of a surge in demand for data and voice services amid the lockdown forced by Covid-19.

    As shoes can also be a potential carrier of coronavirus, shoe sanitiser mats have been placed at strategic places, the DIAL stated. Sensor-based taps in passenger washrooms, foot operated sanitiser dispenser, sensor-based and paddle operated drinking water fountain have been installed for contactless usage, the DIAL said.

    "In case of new BTS, the due date of submission of self-certificate shall be 30 days after the date of commissioning of BTS. In case of upgradation, the due date of submission of self-certificate shall be 30 days," DoT said in a letter to telecom operators.

    he Industry body Tower And Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) said that around 90 per cent of employees in the country is working from home and the adoption of e-Services, OTT platforms, e-Commerce and e-Governance etc has increased and all this has led to a significant upsurge in mobile and internet traffic by almost 20-30 per cent.

    While final approvals from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are expected shortly, as per the sources cited, Reliance Industries’ (RIL) debt reduction plans have been delayed.

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