TELEPHONE SYSTEM PARALYZED IN SEVERAL PANCHYATS OF HIMACHAL PRADESH

phone.jpgWith the increasing number of cases of Telephone cables thefts, is seems that it has groomed a new flourishing business for the thieves who just go in Jungles and lonely hills during the night hours and make thousands of rupees after steeling several kilometer long cable wire. It is soft target for them as no body watch this property during night hours specially in the rural areas. More than 60 such thefts had been reported in the Paonta area only.
Police seems helpless in this matter. Helplessness of police is evident with the open statements of officials of Telecom department that police even do not register FIR in most of cable theft cases and accept Departments theft information letters unwillingly. In addition to cable theft rampant, carelessness of Telecom department in providing quality services to the consumers had added more woe to the sufferings of the consumers.

Police seems helpless in this matter. Helplessness of police is evident with the open statements of officials of Telecom department that police even do not register FIR in most of cable theft cases and accept Departments theft information letters unwillingly. In addition to cable theft rampant, carelessness of Telecom department in providing quality services to the consumers had added more woe to the sufferings of the consumers.

As cable theft rampant goes on in the Himachal Pradesh, in Sirmour particularly it has created big havoc. Specially in the rural Sirmour where telephones are considered life lines. Telephones has secured the top role, pushing back the top importance of roads in the rural life, with the global information revolution and now telephone have become first need of rural people. During the recent visit of rural areas of Sirmour by a this correspondent it has been noticed that residents totally held responsible BSNL for its sheer negligence and carelessness in providing quality services as they say that in may villages telephones were dead for the past over six months only due to negligence of BSNL or non availability of staff to run the telephone exchanges.

Telephone system in most of the parts of Paonta valley of Sirmour district has almost collapsed. In most of the area telephones were dead due to alleged carelessness of the departmental officials while cable theft rampant goes on in the area creating uphill task for the BSNL to relay the telephone cable in the several kilometer hilly area. Increasing theft incidents in the Paonta valley had increased the woes of the residents of this interior part of the district.

Thousands of residents of three Panchyats of Anj Bhoj area in Trans Giri track connected with Tonru Telephone Exchange were facing similar problem. They were not aware as why hundreds of telephones in their area were out of order for the past over three to four months. Residents of over 16 villages of Badahana, Danda Kala Amb and Neghata Panchyats told this correspondent that most of the subscribers were depositing bills for their dead telephones. Rajender Singh, Vice President, Gram Panchyat Badhana counts the names of several subscribers who wrote or told to the departmental officials that they would pay telephone rent bills only if the telephones were functional but department disconnected their telephones.

Mr. Rajender Singh said that hundreds of residents of these three Panchyats of Anj Bhoj area in the month of November last year had gathered in front of office of DET Paonta and had Gharaoud DET and other officials in their offices for several hours. Angry villagers sat on Dharna also and shouted slogans against the department as their telephones were out of order for the past seven months at that time. Hundreds of subscribers in protest had deposited their telephone sets in the Paonta BSNL office. After that, he says that department had initiated action to set in order the dead telephones of the area but after two months things again became worse. He said that local Panchyats had given resolutions to the reputed mobile companies to erect mobile towers in the area as BSNL had totally ignored the area.

BSNL JTO of Paonta admitted that in Badhana, Kalatha, Killaur, Moni, KalaAmb and several other villages were dead for the past several months due to fault in the cable. Officials however said that there was no cable theft in this area.

Kafota telephone exchange under Kamrou Sub Tehsil was running without a man. A large number of telephones under this exchange were dead for the past two months. No one was hearing voice of villagers, commented Ram Nath of Kafota . In Kamrou exchange nearly one hundred telephones in over six villages including Kamrou, Badwas, Baldwa and Tilor Dhar villages starting with 273 digit were dead for the past three months reportedly due to problem in the media system of the exchange. In mining business hub Sataun and in around seven surrounded village, hundreds of telephones had gone dead due to recent cable theft in the six kilometer area.

In Khodowala village area in Trans Giri track, telephone cable had been stolen more than ten times as per departmental sources. Telephones in five villages were dead for almost six months. In Gojar Adyan group of five villages cable had been stolen in over six K.M. area paralyzing telephone system of the area for over five months. Under Rajpura exchange four villages around Amboya in Hatli area telephones were dead due to cable theft for the past over six months, new cable laid in the area had been again stolen as per departmental sources. As per reports, hundreds of telephones in villages of paonta area which includes Puruwala, Parduni, Kartar Pur, Sainwala, Suraj Pur and many other villages of Transgiri and Cis Giri area were waiting for a ring.

People alleged that telephones under Banour exchange which covers around nine neighboring villages also remains out of order most of time. They said that people in the 24 villages of Anj Bhoj area in the absence of BSNL signal in most of area their mobile phones catches signals from Uttrakhand towns and had to pay heavy bills of roaming charges.

Junior Telecom Engineer [JTO] Paonta Mr. Ram Gopal said that over 60 incidents of cable theft had taken place in Paonta telecom section only which had played havoc with the telecom system of the area. He added that that there were more than ten stations where department had laid telephone cable more than three times but was stolen after a few days. He admitted that there was no regular person posted to look after Kafota telephone exchange after the transfer of its care taker employee. He admitted that department was running short of staff. He said that he along with the team of departmental officials had corrected sag in the Kamrou exchange and now maximum numbers of this exchange were operative for the past three days.

People alleged that BSNL was not paying much heed to restart the services in the areas where cable theft had taken place. Experts suggests that BSNL should use wireless technology and erect more Mobile Phone towers in the Trans Giri and other rural areas a to provide trust worthy telephone service. They suggests that BSNL should lay fiber cable which is not stolen generally as it do not carry good quantity of copper and so should opt for under ground cables in most of the places.

Experts say that most of the exchanges erected in the remote Sirmour were of old technology it was the one of reason that these exchanges goes dead even on one shower of rain or after few slots of wind which was very common in the hills.

Not only this, recently telephone exchange of Paonta Sahib remained closed for nearly three days putting thousand of residents in trouble. Thousands of BSNL subscribers of Paonta town and surrounding villages were left with no option but to depend on mobile services to pass urgent message to their dear ones. Experts said that due to fluctuation in the electricity supply some fault developed in this old technology exchange which took nearly three days and two night to recover putting industrial hub of the state in to deep trouble. Now Divisional Telecom Engineer of Paonta had been transferred without any substitute.

Working as district correspondent with The Tribune & Danik Tribune in Sirmour.

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