For many living in rural areas of Dakshina Kannada, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is the only telecom company to connect the world. However, the deteriorating telecom services has forced villagers in Aladangady in Belthangady taluk to install a ‘donation box’ to ‘fuel’ BSNL tower, which goes off during power cuts.
“We are addicted to using cellphones in our day-to-day life. Other than BSNL, no other telecom service provider is offering good services here. The BSNL tower, which runs on electricity, goes off during power cuts. Being a rural area, power cuts are frequent. There are days when we have no signal for days which causes lot of inconvenience. We cannot switch over to other networks due to poor service. So we have decided to install a ‘donation box’ seeking money to buy fuel. It is also a symbolic protest against BSNL,” said Arihanth Jain, an electrician.
He told TOI that they are facing such issues ever since BSNL got into trouble. They have now installed a ‘donation box’ in front of a mobile recharge shop in Aladangady, nearly 60 km from Mangaluru. “For almost six months, the consumers who use BSNL have had a harrowing time due to poor service. When we asked the authorities, they shrugged off saying they didn’t have money to buy fuel to run mobile towers,” Arihanth said.
The network goes off completely whenever there is a power cut, said Jain. “One day, I was in a bank doing transactions, but stopped midway as there was a power cut. There are many such examples of unfinished work due to outages,” said another villager.
Similar is the plight of villages in Sullia taluk too. A villager had to rush to the BSNL tower with diesel and charge batteries before making calls to his relatives to inform the death of a family member. The incident was reported in a Kalmakaru village in Sullia taluk. Incidentally, more mobile towers in rural areas was one of the poll demands recently.
BSNL officials, on condition of anonymity, said they were trying to solve the issues but were finding it hard to go ahead as there were no funds.―Times of India