The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blackout & line block

Nirupam Sen was apologetic on Tuesday afternoon at the launch of the redesigned website of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).

“You may find it difficult to access the website since there is a problem at BSNL,” said the industry minister.

A few hours before he clicked on the mouse, the power plant at Telephone Bhavan, headquarters of BSNL in Calcutta, had caught fire.

Though the flames on the second floor of 34 BBD Bag were doused within an hour, telecom services throughout the city were hit hard.

Besides the total blackout of the public sector telecom major’s broadband and Internet services, both landline and cellular phone services were affected, especially in the central business district.

“As soon as the fire broke out we switched off the power lines leading to the control rooms as a precautionary measure in anticipation of further damage,” said S.K. Chakravarty, the chief general manager of BSNL.

The sudden disconnection had an impact on the phone lines in government offices and business establishments.

“There is loss of mobile and wire-line interactivity in the area. Several leased lines are also down, which will affect the banking sector and other business establishments connected by wide area network (WAN),” admitted BSNL spokesperson Salil Kumar Bhaduri.

According to sources, UCO Bank and Allahabad Bank faced connectivity problems. Some brokers with offices around NS Bose Road also hit a hurdle. “But those with VSAT connections did not face any problems. Inter-bank fund transfer or treasury operations were not hit,” said an industry insider.

Though the BSNL chief general manager had promised resumption of services within four hours, the situation was far from normal till late on Tuesday.

“These days all companies have contingency plans to ensure business continuity. BSNL must take such measures,” said a businessman.

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