Industry body TAIPA has sought the DoT’s urgent intervention and support to ensure round-the-clock availability of telecom connectivity amid strict movement curbs and curfews in many states due to surging COVID-19 cases. TAIPA Director-General T R Dua has urged Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash to instruct relevant central ministries, authorities, circles and the state/union territory governments to offer full support to the telecom infrastructure providers to enable them to carry out uninterrupted installation, operation and maintenance of infrastructure, and ensure 24X7 availability of services.
Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) sought unrestricted movement of field staff and technicians for accessing telecom tower sites; availability of diesel for telecom tower sites; safety and security of telecom personnel/technicians by police authorities and law enforcement agencies in the states, among others. “We request DoT to write to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and State/UT Chief Secretaries regarding ensuring safety and security of the telecom field personnel / technicians and telecom infrastructure in the States/UTs during present situation,” TAIPA said in its submission.
The association emphasised that there should be no coercive action or sealing of telecom infrastructure and telecom towers in the country, as it sought urgent de-sealing of all the telecom tower sites. “We request DoT to write to State/UT Governments for no coercive action and urgent de-sealing of telecom tower sites for uninterrupted telecom connectivity during present situation,” TAIPA said. Terming telecom services as “pivotal” for enabling e-services, online applications and remote working, Dua stressed that ensuring the continuity of telecom tower operations around-the-clock during curfew and lockdown situation is of utmost importance.
“Availability of diesel for running DG sets in case of necessity/ emergency has to be ensured. We request Department of Telecom (DoT) to write to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and all oil companies – BPCL, HPCL, Indian Oil etc. regarding ensuring round the clock availability of diesel for telecom tower companies so that telecom tower operations could be run on 24X7 basis,” TAIPA said. Various states have resorted to weekend curfews and lockdowns to rein in the second wave of pandemic, amid rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country. As per Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday morning, the number of daily coronavirus cases in India hit a record high with over 3.14 lakh new infections being reported, pushing the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,59,30,965. This is the highest-ever single-day count recorded in any country.