Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ziro-Hapoli witnesses first Bandh of the year….and counting….

Guess, how did the residents of Ziro-Hapoli township made their day yesterday?

With shops closed and vehicles off the road, some seized this opportunity to turn the road into a cricket pitch; some made the pavement- a gambling den, playing cards and simultaneously enjoying the warm sunlight in this chilly winter without a trace of worry of being run-over by vehicle or stumbled upon by the pedestrian and for some it was forced confinement at their homes.

Yes, the so-called moral police, social guardian and custodian of the society are back at what they does best-giving ‘Bandh’ call at a drop of hat. And yesterday people of Ziro-Hapoli Township witnessed the first Bandh Call of the year, thanks to Apatani Students’ Union (ASU). The reason-poor mobile network provided by the lone service provider BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited).

Ziro-Hapoli Township had been subjected to quite erratic mobile network this past month, with no network most of the time, which the BSNL reason- is due to damage done to OFC (Optical Fibre Cable) linking Itanagar Swtiching Centre to Ziro Exchange by road cutting work at Hoj-Doimukh road. And despite their assurance of linking Ziro exchange with Itanagar via satellite to improve the connectivity, they failed to link the exchange and switching centre at the time stipulated by the Students’ body leading to this ‘Bandh’. The consequences at the end of 12 Hr Ziro-Hapoli Bandh-vandalism by students' body at BSNL office-cum exchange at Hapoli and at Old-Ziro.

Quite surprisingly, majority of the people (read BSNL mobile subscribers) felt that the students had done the right thing which made me wonder, what’s the connection? What’s the poor mobile network got to do with students’ affair? Wasn’t it the subscriber’s who would have been affected by this network problem? Or was the students’ mere puppets at the hands of ‘Cell-One’ and ‘Excel’ subscriber’s to raise their voice on their behalf? When would people stop pointing gun from other’s shoulder? And when would the students’ body stop being puppet to some people who use them for their own gain?

Another question that comes to mind is-would this vandalism lead to better mobile service at Ziro? I doubt, considering the technical or administrative hurdles that may lay ahead with the BSNL authorities at Ziro, to improve the service overnight. Hadn't it been a better option had the subscriber's lodged a complaint at Consumer Court and made BSNL pay heavy compensation for the loss incurred to them owing to disrupted mobile network? With thousands of subscriber's, I guess, BSNL would have thought it a better proposition to improve the connectivity and maintaining it well rather than part with huge sum of money as a compensation.


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