Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Tuesday has condemned the vandalism of Reliance Jio’s towers and equipment in Punjab during the farmers protest.
“While we respect people’s right to protest on any issue, sabotaging the telecom network infrastructure and disrupting telecom services as a form of protest by anyone is strongly condemned. Telecom services are the lifeline of lakhs of customers, including students taking online classes, professionals working from home, people going in for online health consultations in the tough time of Covid-19,” SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI, said in a statement.
The disruption of telecom services, which are considered “essential” under various enactments, is causing immense inconvenience to the common man for whom the mobile services are so essential, he said.
Over the past few days there have been reports of telecom services disruption due to damage caused by protesters.
The State government has also confirmed that 1,561 mobile towers had been affected over the past few days and 146 of them were impacted since Monday due to disruption of power supply to 32 towers.
Jio meanwhile, has accused Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea of misconduct by urging the protesters to port their networks. There are reports of Airtel and Vodafone Idea setting up kiosks at the protest venue to help port customers to their networks from Jio.
Both Airtel and Vodafone Idea have said Jio’s allegations are baseless.