Signal was restored in nearly 95 per cent of Calcutta cable homes fed by RPG Netcom by Friday evening, but anger simmered among cablemen caught unawares by the sudden blackout after vandals severed trunk routes of the service provider on Thursday.
“More than 10 of our optic-fibre cables were cut and it appears to be an act of sabotage. We regret that so many subscribers had to suffer because of this shameful attack on the company’s assets,” RPG Netcom CEO Ashim Dutta told Metro on Friday. The Netcom management has lodged a complaint with the police, seeking “necessary action” and identification of the culprits.
All the control rooms hit by the snapping spree had an awkward time facing agitated viewers. “We must find a way to prevent such acts of vandalism, as it harms the entire trade,” lamented Rana Das of Linkman, a major control room in Salt Lake.
Late on Thursday evening, a spokesman for the Sangram Committee of Cable Operators had admitted that its members were “responsible for the blackout”, adding that they had done it to “protect business interests of small operators”.
Netcom trunk lines feeding various nodes across the city were cut indiscriminately shortly after the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) snapped wires of Manthan, another service provider in town, for “using light posts in an unauthorised manner”. CMC personnel had accidentally cut Netcom lines, too, in Howrah and Hooghly, triggering confusion and providing fodder to the miscreants.
Representatives of the Sangram Committee met Netcom officials in commercial parleys that carried on past midnight. February 5 has been fixed as the deadline for resolving the issue of payment on new rates for pay channels, effective January 1.
The Sangram Committee had taken out an unauthorised motorbike rally last Friday to demand “status quo” on rates.