Telephone cables being laid on Tata-Hata Road
If BSNL customers are facing network problems, it does not mean that the telecom major is at fault. Rather, road projects are to be blamed.
According to BSNL’s Jamshedpur Secondary Switching Area (SSA), which covers the twin districts of Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan, ongoing construction work on NH-33 and other parts of the city is causing frequent snapping of cables. This not only resulted in losses for the telecom major, but also eroded its credibility among customers.
In July and August alone, BSNL incurred losses of around Rs 60 lakh after both optical fibre and underground cables between Tamar and Jamshedpur were damaged, thanks to widening work on Ranchi-Mohulia (near Jamshedpur) stretch of NH-33 that is being developed into four lanes.
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is carrying out the project through its concessionaire, Madhucon Projects Limited.
Jusco projects snapped cables on Pardih-Azadnagar, Pardih-Jawaharnagar, Sakchi-Guramnullah and Ramnagar-Vijaya Heritage roads in July-August, dealing a blow of Rs 6 lakh to the telecom giant.
The state road construction department, which carries out projects on the city’s outskirts, is another offender.
B.N. Singh, general manager of SSA, which has a customer base of five lakh, admitted that cables damaged in construction work were the major cause of network problems.
“The agencies entrusted with road work do not bother to even inform us so that we can shift the cables. We have lodged cases at respective police stations against NHAI and Jusco so far,” said Singh.
The senior telecom official further said the problem would persist till NH-33 was through with widening work on Ranchi-Jamshedpur road.
“We are trying our best to tackle the situation. Our senior officials have been asked to remain vigilant on NH-33 stretch and depute a team that will shift the cables and co-ordinate with earthmover operators’ to minimise damages,” Singh added.
Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan admitted that cables might have suffered damages in Mango, but not in its command area.
“We seek clearances from Mango Notified Area Committee for digging the ground for laying water pipelines and repairing roads. As there is no underground mapping, one cannot rule out chances of damages to underground cables. However, in Tata command area, we have GIS of utility lines underground and there is minimum chances of wear and tear. Still, we will look into BSNL’s claims,” said the spokesperson.