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Lousy drain work hits 800 phones

Tharpakhna businessman Sumit Kujur was waiting for an important call at 9am. When his landline did not ring even an hour later, he checked the handset and found that his phone had gone dead.

Jail More resident Sandeep Singh received a similar unpleasant surprise. “I was expecting an ISD call around 8am from my sister in the States. Instead of calling on the landline number, which she normally does when I am home, my sister rang up my cellphone to say she could not get me on the BSNL line. I soon realised my home phone wasn’t working.”

Kujur and Singh were not stray sufferers in Ranchi on Friday. More than 800 BSNL landline phones went dead in the morning allegedly because of mindless digging for drainage on Purulia Road and its allied areas, which snapped the telecom service provider’s centralised cable port.

BSNL officials said the impact of the drainage work undertaken by Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) was felt within a radius of 3km. Communication was hit in important areas like HB Road, Tharpakhna, Lalpur, Dangratoli, Peace Road, Jail More (Circular Road) and parts of Kantatoli.

“The RMC is constructing drains on Purulia Road and along a stretch that links with HB Road. Civic workers have dug up the roads in such a way that our underground cables have been damaged. Our main cable port is in this area and hence, the impact has been heavy. A technical team was rushed to salvage the situation after complaints kept pouring in the morning,” said a mid-level BSNL officer not willing to be identified.

“So far, 800 phone lines are dead. Numbers may increase after final tabulation in the evening. Reinstallation of cables may make take a couple of days,” he further said, adding that BSNL SDO Brajesh Singh was looking into the matter. SDO Singh did not answer his calls.

RMC’s public relations officer Naresh Sinha wasn’t, initially, aware of the problem. He later called this correspondent and said: “We will send our engineers tomorrow (Saturday) morning to assess damages. We always try not to disturb cables. But, workers don’t always take adequate precautions. If needed, the RMC will get in touch with BSNL and resolve the matter soon.”