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Mayor talks tough to cable brigade

A mess of cables on Rawdon Street. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Calcutta: The civic body will snap cables found hanging dangerously from lamp posts or posing a problem to commuters, mayor Sovan Chatterjee said on Wednesday.

"I met some cable operators today. I have told them that we will snap connections if the wires cause any problem to people or if they hang dangerously close to the ground," the mayor told Metro.

Chatterjee's meeting came in the wake of an accident involving 18-year-old Mohammad Tausib Alam, who died after his motorbike got entangled in a heap of cables left lying by the roadside on No. 4 bridge in Park Circus on Monday.

Thisnewspaper has been writing about the dangers that the wires - the conduit of cable TV and broadband Internet signals - pose to public, besides being a eyesore.

Chatterjee's threat to snap the cables stands in contrast to the usual indifferent attitude of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation to the problem.

The mayor and civic officials had met operators earlier, too, to discuss how to organise the wires but nothing came of them.

"Time is up and the operators need to do something," Chatterjee said during the day.

But the mayor didn't insist on taking the wires underground, an option that engineers of telecom service providers think is the best solution.

Officers of the South West Traffic Guard met cable operators from Alipore, Taratala and the port area during the day and asked them to keep the wires at a safe height from the ground.

"The operators were told to lift the wires that were hanging low to at least 25ft above the road. They were also asked to remove the abandoned cables that needlessly add to the mess," an officer who attended the meeting said.

A cable TV operator from Kasba agreed that most operators did not bother to remove abandoned cables for years.

Overhead cabling is rampant across Calcutta. The problem started rearing its head in the early 90s, when cable TV came to Calcutta.

The city has at least seven multi-system operators (MSO) that transmit TV signals through overhead cables. More than 12 broadband service providers use the same method to reach their customers.

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