Telecom operators struggle to maintain networks amid lockdown as police 'harass' employees on duty: COAI

The government has kept telecom services in the list of essential services in order to support work from home during the lockdown period.

Published: 27th March 2020 03:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2020 03:10 PM   |  A+A-

Coronavirus, Karnataka, Lockdown

For representational purpose. (Photo | D Hemanth, EPS)


NEW DELHI: Telecom operators are facing issues in maintaining networks as their employees on duty are being harassed and even beaten by police in some states, industry body COAI alleged on Friday.

The government has kept telecom services in the list of essential services in order to support work from home during the lockdown period.


"Frontline police are not aware of all of the permissions. When a company's employee shows them a letter, they don't consider it. Police are being extra vigilant. That is needed but it is also leading to some of our employees being harassed and even beaten up in some instances," COAI DG Rajan S Mathews told PTI.

He said employees are also facing problems due to jurisdiction issues as one DoT field or state unit handles operations of neighbouring states.

"Like Delhi circle TERM cell handles Gurgaon, Noida as well. Police in Haryana are asking for orders issued from authorities in their state," Mathews said.

Earlier this week, DoT had reached out to state governments over difficulties faced by telecom personnel in their movements due to the lockdown imposed by authorities to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash in a letter to chief secretaries of state and advisors to administrators of union territories had noted that telecom infrastructure is critical for maintaining communication, broadband, encouraging e-commerce and facilitating work from home during the lockdown period.

"We have got letters from the Ministry of Home Affairs, DoT, Ministry of Electronics and IT. We have given contact of TERM cells in case of disruption. However, police on the frontline are not understanding the permits. We are going to approach DoT now," Mathews said.

He said by the time the final words of authorities reach police personnel at the street, operational issues will remain.


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