Deteriorating BSNL service

Bharat Sanchar Nigam, commonly called BSNL, is the premier telecom service provider in the State. Recalling the history of its advent in the State, we will say that in fact it brought a far-reaching revolution in telecommunication area of the State. It has reached not only every home in the State but also virtually every person in the State. Such is the story of its deep impact. People of older age group will have no hesitation in acknowledging that BSNL provided excellent service to the consumers and rapidly covered the vast hilly and difficult area including the farthest nook in distant and mountainous Ladakh. While we are evaluating the services of BSNL, we should not forget that it has been working in very tough topographical as well as climatic conditions. Today even the remotest village in the State and the cottage of a villager closest to the border either with China or with Pakistan is connected with the national mainstream. Information technology has gone through a sea change and the BSNL has kept pace with that change. With large technical staff on its pay roll, the organization has very efficiently performed its role in changing the face of communication profile of the country.
This notwithstanding, recently, a number of consumers have been complaining of bad or deteriorating services of BSNL. These complaints began pouring in after the flash-floods in the valley in September 2014. In that flash flood, considerable damage was caused to the telecom network system in Kashmir valley and service remained suspended owing to the natural calamity that befell the Valley. We should have all praise for the organization to have rushed material and equipment to the valley and undertaken the daunting work of restoration of services to the consumers. Realizing the sensitivity of the region, day and night work had to be done to bring back normalcy to the Valley. The fact of the matter is that even now after eleven months have passed since the floods crashed the system, still hundred per cent normalcy has not been achieved.
In this back ground, it is true that huge telecom material and equipment that lay in the stores in Jammu or were transported to Jammu was shifted to Srinagar with the purpose of restoring the system in the V alley. We think that there was no other motive in shifting the bulk of equipment to Srinagar than that of restoring services as quickly as possible. We have to realize that apart from meeting the needs of sensitive services in the valley, we have widespread distribution of security forces along the border and in hinterlands that needed to be kept connected. These were the constraints of BSNL for shifting the bulk of equipment.
As regards Jammu, it is true that Jammu, too, had its share of floods and devastation. We could not escape that misfortune. However, the magnitude of devastation in the Valley was far greater. In the process, Jammu did suffer deteriorated services and connectivity especially for want of equipment. It should not have happened and the telecom authorities should have been judicious enough not to leave Jammu in lurch. But nearly a year has gone by and now things should have improved much. There is no reason that we continue to face difficulties in telephone, mobile and internet services in Jammu region. J&K Telecom of BSNL should immediately respond to the complaints that are piling up. Telecom authorities should pursue the matter with the Ministry most urgently and undertake massive repair and improvement of telecom services in Jammu and Ladakh regions. Complaint makers cannot be defaulted because it is about a year that valley situation has improved. Phase – 7 of expansion should be taken up on priority basis and the cables of whatever type is needed should be made available to Jammu BSNL immediately. We would appeal to the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting to issue instructions to the concerned subordinate branches to undertake repair and resetting of Jammu region telecom system in shortest possible time in accordance with Phase 7 of expansion.
We are unhappy that the revenue of the BSNL for the financial year 2014-15 is showing downward graph and the target of 550 crore rupees does not seem to be reachable. According to available information against 470 crore expenditure, revenue has been only 438 crore rupees. The gap needs to be filled and revenues increased. For that objective, it is quite natural that BSNL should provide state of art service failing which consumers shift to other private providers. This is not a good trend and has to be arrested. Those at the helm of affairs should try to understand the risk involved in not improving the service.


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