The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), the apex body tasked with expediting the rollout of the telecom infrastructure in the country, wrote to the Department of Technology (DoT) seeking its urgent support regarding the availability and continuity of telecom services during curfews and lockdowns across the country.
Amidst various cities and states introducing curfews and lockdowns to curb the deadly second wave, T.R.Dua, Director-General, TAIPA urged Anshu Prakash, Secretary, DoT, to advise all relevant central and state government authorities to provide support to the Telecom Infrastructure Providers (IP-1) to carry out uninterrupted installation, operation, and maintenance of telecom infrastructure during this time.
As the telecom services are pivotal for enabling several e-services, online applications, and work from home, etc, therefore it becomes of utmost importance to ensure the continuity of telecom tower operations 24*7 during curfew and lockdown situation in the country. — T.R.Dua, Director-General, TAIPA
What support does TAIPA seek?
Unrestricted movement of field staff: Stating that telecom services need to run 24/7 regardless of emergency situations like the pandemic, the association requested DoT to instruct all State/UT Chief Secretaries to allow field staff and technicians to access telecom tower sites for “installation of towers, attending to faults, routine operation and maintenance, diesel filling etc.” Earlier this month, telecom operators in Maharasthra sought frontline worker status for their engineers after many of them faced police harassment while carrying out their duties.
- Availability of diesel for telecom tower sites: TAIPA requested DoT to write to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and all oil companies including BPCL, HPCL, and Indian Oil to ensure there is round the clock availability and supply of diesel for running generator sets.
Uninterrupted availability of electricity: The association requested DoT to write to the Ministry of Power and concerned state authorities asking them to advise Electricity Distribution Companies to provide uninterrupted electricity supply to telecom sites and on high priority.
Safety and security of telecom workers and towers: TAIPA requested DoT to write to the Ministry of Home Affairs and State/UT Chief Secretaries seeking measures to ensure the safety and security of telecom personnel and technicians as well as telecom infrastructure with the help of police authorities and law enforcement agencies.
No sealing of telecom infrastructure: The association requested DoT to ensure no coercive actions such as sealing of telecom infrastructure is taken during such a time and existing sealed towers are allowed to reopen.
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