PCMC’s drainage dept work digs up phone cables; BSNL, civic body blame each other; service to be back on Monday Work on an an underground sewage pipeline project of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on Saturday night led to snapping of Bharat Sanchar Nigal Ltd’s (BSNL) underground Optical Fibre Cables (OFC) and landline cables resulting in disruption of 13 lakh mobile connections, 40,000 landline and broadband services from Pimpri-Chinchwad all the way up to Lonavala.
Even after 20 hours of efforts by BSNL, connections were not restored. However, BSNL has filed an FIR with Chinchwad police station against the contractor, claiming that they have lost revenue to the tune of over Rs 1 crore due to negligence.
According to BSNL, the sewage water project undertaken by the drainage department on the stretch between Chinchwad Station to Uttam market was carried out during the night with JCB machines. PCMC authorities claimed it was the responsibility of BSNL to be present at the spot with a map of underground cables. The civic body said it cannot take responsibility for the disruption in telecom services.
Over 110 mobile towers in the region were rendered inoperative. R M Mansharamani, assistant general manager, BSNL (Chinchwad) said, “We came to know about this on Sunday morning when we began getting complaints of disconnections. We had a meeting with PCMC authorities to co-ordinate the re-routing of the disconnected cables. We expect the problem to be solved by Monday.”
He added, “We have filed a complaint against Manisha Constructions, the contractor carrying out the PCMC project. We have lost crores of rupees in revenue. We will be demanding compensation from PCMC, and the amount will increase as the hours of disconnection go up. I have urged the civic body to carry out work near phone cables manually and not with machinery.”
M D Nikam, executive engineer, drainage department, PCMC, refuted BSNL’s claim. “No BSNL official was present when digging was going on. They should been there with a map, which would have avoided damage and disconnection,” he said.
Nikam also alleged that BSNL is always reluctant to give adequate protective cover to their cables. “They don’t place their cables at a greater depth, so even during minor digging activities, they get damaged. The issue is between the contractor and BSNL,” he said.