The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blackout in cableman snap spree

Nearly a million cable homes in Calcutta and its fringe areas under the RPG Netcom umbrella were held to ransom on Thursday by a handful of operators out to seek “revenge”, after the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) snapped wires of a service provider for “default”.

Satellite signal was yanked off the beam in more than 75 per cent of the city in the evening as these rogue operators went about indiscriminately hacking optic-fibre trunk routes carrying the Netcom signal to various parts of the city.

Earlier in the afternoon, the CMC had snapped feeder lines of breakaway multi-system operator Manthan in many areas. “They have neither taken the required clearance from the respective boroughs, nor paid us our dues for using the posts,” mayor Subrata Mukherjee told Metro. The CMC has served Manthan a week’s notice to get its act in order, failing which its lines will be “snapped permanently”.

Control rooms across the city, plunged into darkness, are pointing fingers at the Sangram Committee of Cable Operators. “They obviously have vested interests in Manthan, and this is an act of retaliation,” alleged an operator temporarily severed from the Netcom network.

Sangram Committee spokesperson Tarak Saha admitted his member-operators were “responsible for the blanket switch-off”, saying they did it “for the greater good of the industry”. Nearly 200 cablemen camped in front of the Netcom office till late on Thursday, preventing restoration of lines.

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