Mobile Towers Damaged Amid Farmers’ Stir; Punjab CM Directs Action
Singh said his government has supported the farmers but won’t allow any damage to property or public inconvenience.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday, 28 December, has directed strict police action against the vandalism of 1,561 mobile towers that were allegedly impacted during the farmers’ protest, resulting in the disruption of telecom services in the state, reported PTI.
Out of the 21,306 towers in the 22 districts of Punjab, around 1,561 towers have taken a hit because of “power disruption, physical damage or theft of generator", reported NDTV.
There has been disruption of supply to 32 towers, causing 114 more towers to lose connection. So far, 433 towers have been repaired, reported PTI.
Anger Against Mukesh Ambani
Since the last week, there has been anger against Jio and telecom towers owned by Mukesh Ambani, who has been allegedly identified as a beneficiary of the farm laws. There has been alleged cutting of wires, burning of fibre net cables and damaging of telecom towers in violation to orders by farm leaders of unions, asking to maintain peace during protests.
The Punjab CM said he had to toughen his stance as his earlier appeals on Friday to end the vandalism and not cause inconvenience to the general public had been ignored, reported PTI.
Singh pointed out that the farmers’ had received the full support of the state, and their agitation had not been stopped or objected to so far. However, he said the state would not allow any damage to property or public inconvenience.
May Lead To Communication Blackout in Punjab
The CM stated that the continuation of such behaviour may result in a ‘communications blackout in the state’ which will affect banking services, professionals working from home due to the pandemic could lose their jobs if they can’t access the internet, and students, especially those appearing for their board exams, will be directly affected.
He said, “The state government has already distributed 1.75 lakh smartphones to class 12 students to equip them for the Board exams, but the vandalising telecom property was hampering the students,” quoted PTI.
‘Protests Were Supported for Its Peaceful Nature’: CM
The CM reiterated that the farmers’ protests had received widespread support for its peaceful nature and warned the protesters that they may lose support from the public if their peaceful protests turn violent in any way.
This, he said, would be detrimental to the interests of the farmers, reported PTI. The CM asserted that he will not let his state ‘plunge into anarchy’ and ‘take the law into their hands’, reported NDTV.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders for over a month against the three contentious farm laws passed by the Centre in September. So far, there have been five inconclusive meetings between the Centre and farmer unions to resolve the protests. The Centre has asked for a sixth round of discussion with farmer unions on 30 December at the Vigyan Bhawan.
(With inputs from PTI and NDTV)
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