Amid reports that farmers were disconnecting power supply to Jio mobile towers in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday appealed to them to not inconvenience the general public with such actions.
Pointing out that telecom connectivity had become even more critical for people amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Amarinder said the farmers should show the same discipline and sense of responsibility which they had been exercising during their protest at the Delhi border, which completed one month, and also earlier during their agitation in the state.
Amarinder’s appeal came in the wake of a request from the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), a registered body of telecom infrastructure providers.
The TIPA request came after farmers at various places including Mansa, Barnala, Ferozepur and Moga, disconnected the power supply to Reliance Jio mobile towers as part of their protests over past several days.
“…(this) is not only adversely affecting the studies and future prospects of students, who are dependent entirely on online education, but also hampering the daily life of people working from home,” Amarinder said. “Further, the disruption of telecom services would also seriously affect the state’s already disturbed economy.”
At least two farmer bodies, Friday said disconnecting power to mobile towers was never on their agenda and that they had only given calls to boycott Reliance stores and products.
“Our decision is to boycott Jio and not to disconnect the power supply to any tower. However, if anyone is doing it in villages, it is not a decision of BKU (Ugrahan),” said Jhanda Singh Jethuke, senior vice-president of the largest farmers’ body in Punjab, while addressing farmers at Delhi’s Tikri border.
BKU (Dakaunda) president Buta Singh Burjgill said their call was “only to boycott Jio SIMs or get those numbers ported” to other networks.
The clarification comes two days after Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited wrote to Punjab Director General of Police complaining of “incidents of sabotage and vandalism at Jio sites…”