In order to ensure connectivity in West Bengal & Kolkata, telecom secretary Anshu Prakash held a meeting with all the telecom Service Providers (TSP) and Infrastructure Providers (IP), Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), Cellular Operator’s Association of India (COAI) and senior regional BSNL officials.
The meeting was called to list out all the sites where the towers are down as well as optical fibre cable damages and out of those how many can be repaired in the next 24 hours. Airtel & Vodafone Idea have been asked to get 1000 sites working in the next 24 hours by the Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The DoT has asked Chief General Manager of West Bengal Telecom circle (BSNL) to provide a priority list of the sites which require urgent power to be restored. All the TSP’s & IP’s have been asked to give an updated list to the telecom secretary by early morning.
TR Dua, Director-General, Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association said, that 70% of the sites are working on diesel generators (DG) and after every 8 hours the DG set has to be paused, so restoration of power is very critical for getting sites back to functional especially in Kolkata. “Also, at few situations, we have come across issue of manpower not being allowed because of the road blockages, we have requested state authorities to resolve this issue at the earliest."
“Telcos are coordinating with original equipment manufacturers for their support and ensuring the availability of key spare parts and important equipment like generators, antennas, cables, microwave, etc. Key locations for diesel for speedy and priority access to fuel have been identified and telcos have put in a request to power companies for electric supply on priority through DoT and the concerned Ministries," said Rajan S Mathews, director general, COAI.
He added that war rooms have been set up at identified locations in the States of Orissa and West Bengal (Kolkata) that are expected to be impacted by the cyclone. These teams will interface directly with the local Telecom Enforcement and Resource Monitoring (TERM) cells and State Disaster Management personnel. They have kept response teams in the field for repairing any damages caused and for deployment of Cell on wheels (CoWs) at a short notice.
TSPs and IPs are also liaisoning with local TERM cells and holding regular and emergency meetings with State Secretaries and Disaster Management authorities. The companies have requested for issuing of priority passes for the field staff to manage the on-ground situation. Telcos have already inked Intra Circle Roaming pact among themselves ensuring the uninterrupted telecom and broadband connectivity.
Telecom operators had arranged for temporary war rooms to track the network situation, critical spare parts and provisions for temporary sites to replace the damaged ones.