Jio, ASSOCHAM Write To Punjab CM, DGP Over Tower Vandalism
Jio estimates the cost of damages to be in the tune of hundreds of crores.
Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm and The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) have written separate letters to the District General Police and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday, 27 December, asking for intervention and strict police action to be taken against those who are vandalising the towers and disrupting the network reported The Indian Express.
The ASSOCHAM wrote that the acts could turn away investors from Punjab, and affect the state’s image.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on 28 December, had directed strict police action against the vandalism of 1,561 mobile towers.
There has been anger against Mukesh Ambani and industrialist Gautam Adani who have been allegedly identified as beneficiaries of the farm laws. There has been alleged cutting of wires, burning of fibre net cables and damaging of telecom towers in the violation to orders by farm leaders of unions, asking to maintain peace during protests.
The 9,000 towers, however, are not owned by Ambani but by a Canadian company, Brookfield, who completed a Rs 25,000 crore deal to purchase Jio’s network towers earlier this year, reported The Indian Express.
Tajinder Pal Singh Walia, State Head of the Jio, Punjab Circle, addressed the “sabotage” that was happening at their tower sites and said that the situation on the ground has escalated despite the company bringing forward the issue of ‘malicious misinformation’ spread about the company on 28 October itself.
“With due respect we would like to bring to your kind notice that in your esteemed State of Punjab, the telecom infrastructure and digital services of Reliance Jio are being sabotaged and vandalized for the past few weeks by inciting violence and our employees are not being allowed to work to provide the uninterrupted telecom services, which is an essential service for the people of Punjab,” stated the letter, as quoted by news agency, ANI.
So far, over 1,500 towers have been damaged, causing a disruption of essential services. Jio alleged in its letter that a ‘malicious campaign was going on since the last week of September’ against the company and that has resulted in the vandalism.
The company noted that so far, the incidents have not stopped because no police action has been taken as of yet. They estimated the cost of damages to be in hundreds of crores, reported ANI.
“We humbly request for your kind intervention by a direction from your good office to the district administration to take action against the miscreants who caused this damage, and prevention of any further damage as apart from losses to the infrastructure, people of Punjab are suffering because their life is getting impacted severely in carrying out their day to day activity, education, business, study, etc.,” said the letter, quoted The Indian Express.
'Severely Denting the State’s Image’: ASSOCHAM
ASSOCHAM’s President, Vineet Agarwal, wrote to the CM asking for intervention. He said, “Such incidents not only result in a huge national loss but also severely dent the image of a progressive state. A prolonged and continuation of the agitation, especially with incidents of damage to the industrial and other infrastructure, would turn investors away from the state of Punjab”, quoted The Indian Express.
The letter also talked about the highway blockage by the protesting farmers, which is leading to an estimated daily loss of Rs 3,000-3,500 crores. The blockage of highways which connected J&K, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are ‘leading to loss of economic activity’ and affecting the image of the State as an ‘investment destination’, stated the letter.
(With inputs from ANI and The Indian Express.)
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