Telecom services in the flood-hit Kashmir valley are slowly being restored in a phased manner, while full restoration will take more than a week, an official of state-run BSNL said on Monday. Also Read - Telcos says 80 percent of their network restored in flood-hit KashmirAlso Read - Vodafone ensuring connectivity for customers in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir
“One of the BSNL towers near Srinagar airport has been activated today through satellite link. There are two landline exchanges also which have been running. Also 12 3G towers of Aircel are functioning,” BSNL Director (consumer mobility) Anupam Shrivastava told PTI. He added efforts are on to restore 15 more towers by Tuesday through satellite connectivity. “We have started transporting VSATs to the valley to start communication instantly and expedite relief work,” another BSNL official said. Also Read - Telecom operators offer free calling to users in Kashmir
The official said that 10 VSAT (Very-small-aperture terminal) equipment, five each from Delhi and Bangalore, have been shipped for Srinagar which will be installed to start temporary communication services. The official added that immediate arrangements are being made to end network blackout status in worst affected areas. “It will take around 10 days to completely restore the network, while 90 per cent will be restored in a week,” Shrivastava added. Airtel in a statement said, “To ensure that the people in the state are able to remain in touch with their family members during these difficult times, our teams in conjunction with the local administration and the DoT are working round the clock to restore network connectivity as early as possible.” “Since the restoration of electricity may take some time, we have decided to open all our sites to public as soon as they are up, so that they can come and recharge their mobile phones at these sites,” it added.
Destruction of telecom network has impeded rescue operations in the Kashmir valley, where the state is facing the worst flood in six decades which has already claimed more than 150 lives. An Airtel spokesperson said the company has sought help from other telecom operators to switch on roaming services to ensure that our customers are in touch with their family in J&K. “In areas where our services have been severely impacted, we have sought help from other telecom operators to switch on roaming services to ensure that our customers are in touch with their family,” the spokesperson said. “Unprecedented flood situation in J&K has resulted in major damage to the infrastructure and severely impacted the telecom networks of all operators including Airtel,” she said.
For customers who are not able to load balance onto their phones, we are extending the advance talk time facility in addition to giving them free talk time, she said. “We remain committed to our customers and will do everything possible to help them during this difficult hour”, she said.