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Screens on the blink after murder

Many cable TV and Internet subscribers in Behala have no one to turn to with their problems in service since Thursday’s murder of Dipak Bhattacharya and his mother Gouri, who together ran a franchisee of Siticable.

The arrest of Munna Dhali, an employee of the Bhattacharyas who used to collect money from the subscribers and fix technical problems, has further compounded the users’ problems.

“The Net service has been unavailable since Saturday night. I have been calling up employees of the service provider since Sunday but they are pleading helplessness as the office is shut. They are unsure when it will reopen,” said Sakherbazar resident Dwaipayan Roy, who had taken a Net connection from the Bhattacharyas’ agency, M/s Gouri Bhattacharya.

“Whenever I am trying to connect to the Net, the computer screen is flashing ‘No signal’. I need to urgently send a design to a client. I don’t know how to do it,” said Roy, who runs an advertisement agency on the ground floor of his house.

Roy’s woes are shared by many in Sakherbazar, Kalitala, Janakalyan, Dhalipara, Bhuban Mohan Roy Road, Behala Chowrasta, Biren Roy Road (east and west), Chanditala and Barisha.

Sources said more than 100 of the 273 Net customers of M/s Gouri Bhattacharya are hit by the crisis. The number of cable subscribers is close to 2,200. With none available even for the basic maintenance work, many of the subscribers are complaining of disruption in service.

“I am not getting the pay channels I have subscribed to. I tried to call up the local cable manager but there is no response,” said Jayati Saha, a resident of Natunpara.

An employee of the agency blamed the disruption on the rain-induced malfunctioning of the delinking system, from where the TV and Net lines to the subscribers’ homes originate. “Munna Dhali was an expert in fixing delinking snags. Now that he is behind bars, there is no one to attend to the problems. Also, we are unsure of our status following the death of our owners,” the employee said.

Another employee said he and his colleagues were being interrogated daily. “The cops have not yet given us permission to reopen the office. Not that any of us wants to work here anymore.”

The Siticable management, too, is clueless about what role it should play till the police issue a directive. “Our helpline numbers are flooded with complaints. Generally we pass them on to the local cable operator. But since none of the owners and officials is available, we do not know how to manage the crisis,” said Siticable director Suresh Sethia.

Dipak, 52, a bachelor, and Gouri, 73, were murdered in their rooms on the first floor of their Biren Roy Road house. The bodies of their help — Anima Mondal and Moyna Roy — were found on the ground floor.