Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Feb 25:
Hundreds of residents in Pokhariput area of the Odisha capital are having a torrid time with frequent and prolonged disruptions in telephone and internet services – not because of some techincal snag or natural calamities, but because of the utter callousness of the Odisha Water Supply and Sewerage Board (OWSSB).
In laying sewerage lines in this newly growing area, the Board has thrown all caution to the winds and has gone on to merrily uproot painstakingly laid underground optical fibre cables laid by public sector behemoth Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) with impunity.
In the latest instance of this criminal negligence, nearly 1500 users of BSNL services have gone without telephone and internet services since Tuesday night. Thee mobile BTS towers too have been rendered dysfunctional.
The indiscriminate and unthinking use of excavators has damaged 400 prs, one 200 prs, one 20 prs BSNL underground (U/G) cables and Optical Fibre (OF) cables causing a loss of at least Rs 5 lakhs, BSNL sources said.
The disruption of telecom and internet services has also affected banking operations in the area.
Madhu Mishra, a resident of Pokhariput area, said, “I failed to transact money in the Union bank here as the internet link of BSNL remained severed all day today. I could not do the transcation through internet banking either as the broadband connection at home was also down.”
Worse still, the disruption on Tuesday night came barely hours after BSNL services had been restored at the end of a two-day long ordeal.
Talking to OST, BSNL Junior Telecom Officer (JTO) of the Pokhariput area Jayanta Kumar Das held officials of OWSSB solely responsible for the frequent damage to BSNL cables.
“At a recent meeting of the Sewerage Board with officials of PWD and BSNL, it was decided that any agency that wants to dig the land where BSNL cables have been laid has to first inform the concerned officials providing a demarcation chart of the land before executing the said work.
But instead of acting as per the decision taken at the meeting, OWSSB officials yesterday night intentionally carried out ewerage work by digging the land at Pokhariput telephone exchange under Airfield police limits,” Das said. ” They did not even bother to inform us before executing their work,” he added.
Meawhile, SDOP-VIII of Baramunda BSNL exchange S K Pradhan has lodged an FIR with Airfield police station regarding the damaged BSNL U/G cables and has requested them to take necessary action against those responsibles.
“We have to reply to every call of BSNL users. The restoration work will take at least a week,” Pradhan said
On the other hand, Sewerage Board authorities denied the allegations of not coordinating with the telecom authorities.
“We have to take the sewerage line besides the road. Most often, excavation work leads to damage of telephone cables. But we always ask the concerned contractors to rectify the problem,” said assistant project engineer of OWSSB, Debashish Sahoo.