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Landline users demand updated directory

With the creation of scores of smaller exchanges, serving individual localities, and the consequent change of telephone numbers, subscribers of BSNL’s fixed-line telephones have started clamouring for the immediate publication of a new directory.

The last directory (the Millennium Edition) that came out a couple of years ago has outlived its utility, the subscribers claim.

The only consumers’ forum representing the interests of 1.3 million Calcutta Telephones subscribers — the Telephone Services Society — has sought an “immediate replacement”.

“The Internet is used by a minuscule percentage of Calcutta Telephones’ landline subscribers,” Telephone Services Society secretary T.S. Srinivasan said on Sunday, explaining why the updated directory on the official BSNL website was of “limited” help. “For convenience and easy availability, nothing can beat the old directory,” he added.

Calcutta Telephones has gone in for several RLUs, each of which serve a single locality, in the recent past. These units, BSNL officials say, have resulted in a dipping of the number of complaints because each has to serve only a limited number of subscribers, enabling officials to keep a close eye on the situation.

These smaller exchanges, however, have led to frequent changes in telephone numbers. For instance, the older (and bigger) exchange — 472 — now has several smaller exchanges with different numbers; some have stayed with the 472 beginning but many numbers now start with 422, 423, 416 or 417.

“The more recent of the changes (for instance, the 423-beginning numbers) find no mention in the directory,” a BSNL official admitted, conceding the necessity for a new directory.

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