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Telecom field engineer manhandled in Gujarat

Citing a fresh incident of a telecom field executive being manhandled by senior police officers of Gujarat, the Telecom Infrastructure Industry has come out seeking disciplinary action, while citing the risks, to entire telecom networks, posed by the use of such force.

The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), today released a strongly worded statement seeking action against Nirlipit Rai, the SP of Amreli District. TAIPA appealed, in the statement, for ensuring that such incidents are not repeated.TAIPA is the representative body for all major tower companies in India such as Indus Towers, ATC Telecom Infra and Bharti Infratel.In the statement, TAIPA has alleged that a field staff member of Indus Tower, while traveling from Amreli to Hingorala for preventive maintenance, was beaten with sticks and was harassed by Nirlipit Rai, an officer of the rank of Superintendent Police.

The statement claims that the concerned field staff members had the necessary documents in the form of a company letter, curfew pass and the necessary ID Cards.As per the statement issued, the field staff member was beaten, taken to the Babra police station, was detained for two hours and only then was he released.

Noting the criticality of the telecom network, especially in times of the lockdown, the central government under National Disaster Management Guidelines had held Telecom to be an essential service and to be exempt from lockdown restrictions. Subsequently, the Gujarat government passed a similar order, exempting telecom services from lockdown restrictions.

This Gujarat govt order was also by the office of the DGP.This incident comes on the back of similar reports of lack of access to telecom industry field staff members, during the initial days of the lockdown. Even then, the industry had cautioned that lack of access, to tower sites for replenishing diesel supplies for DG Sets and for maintenance work, would threaten the entire telecom network.TR Dua, Director-General, Tower And Infrastructure Providers Association(TAIPA), said, “This is a very serious incident and such kind of incident and that too at the hands of highest- level enforcement officer can break the morale of field engineers and they may refuse to come on duty, resulting in shutting down of telecom network.”


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