BHUBANESWAR: Even as telecom and internet has been declared essential service and excluded from lockdown by the Centre, the field and maintenance staff are facing difficulties in reaching the tower sites in different districts.
Sources said no measure has yet been put in place to ensure hassle-free movement of critical operational staff to refuel base transceiver stations (BTS) and carry out regular maintenance work. Maintenance of critical telecom infrastructure is undertaken in three shifts for uninterrupted communication service for which regular movement of field staff is highly essential.
Though the Department of Telecommunications had on March 23 asked all States to facilitate smooth operation of critical telecom infrastructure, there was no word on pass provision for ground staff.
An official of a leading telecom company here said their field staff in rural and urban areas are facing immense problem in reaching the diesel-based BTS tower sites as they are being asked to produce pass which has not been issued to them.
Those engaged in operation of other critical telecom infrastructure such as Telephone Exchanges, Call Centres, Mobile Switching Centres, Network Operation Centres, Transmission Centres, Data Centres in urban areas are being prevented from going to their workplace by police for COVID-19 lockdown, he said.
“On Tuesday many of our field staff on their way to BTS tower sites, switching centres and data centre in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur were stopped by police delaying refuelling and maintenance work by hours,” the official said adding “Many of our staff faced difficulties on Wednesday also in most of the districts.”
The operators said if the issue in not addressed it would be difficult for them to ensure uninterrupted telecom service in the State.Meanwhile, keeping the situation in view Additional DGP (Law and Order) SK Priyadarshi asked all SPs and DCPs of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar to instruct field staff to facilitate smooth functioning of telecom service in their jurisdiction.