April 23, 2021 3:00:40 am
As states continue to opt for localised lockdowns to prevent the spread of the second wave of Covid-19, the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has once again written to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Secretary Anshu Prakash seeking his intervention to ensure that movement of essential telecom service personnel are not impacted.
Though states and Union Territories have this time announced local lockdowns well in advance and also planned sticker-based movement of essential and non-essential products and services as well as their professionals, some concerns have been flagged of the situation on ground.
After the nationwide lockdown announced last year in March, telecom companies as well as tower infrastructure providers had said that despite them showing the necessary permissions and licences, authorities had been asking them to shut down operations since they had not received any instructions on what to allow or not.
In his letter to Prakash, TAIPA director general T R Dua has urged that the DoT write to relevant central government ministries and other state chief secretaries to ensure uninterrupted installation, operation, and maintenance of telecom towers and other related infrastructure.
“Availability of diesel for running DG sets in case of necessity/emergency has to be ensured. We request DoT to write to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and all oil companies,” the letter said, adding that diesel must be available to the maintenance and operation companies on a round-the-clock basis.
Earlier last year, when the central government had announced the nationwide lockdown, Prakash had written to the chief secretaries of all states and administrators of Union Territories to ensure essential telecom services remained unaffected.
The DoT Secretary had then, in his letter said that, despite telecom being an essential service, local authorities were asking personnel of the telecom service providers at network operation centers and call centres to shut down operations in view of the restrictions.
In its letter on Thursday, TAIPA once again highlighted that apart from uninterrupted supply of fuel and electricity for telecom towers and related infrastructure, the DoT must also write to the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure safety and security of telecom personnel and technicians working on operation and maintenance of telecom towers across states and UTs.
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