Link failure hits hotels, cafes

Kalimpong, May 21: Frequent disruptions in the direct internet access system (DIAS), especially in the last two months, has left local BSNL subscribers fuming and the tourism industry helpless.

Though there are only 18 DIAS subscribers in Kalimpong, most of them — like hotels and cyber cafes — are frequent users. The hotels have been hit the hardest since tourists can’t get their bookings done through the Net. Amode Yonzone, general manager of Kalimpong Park Hotel, said the DIAS connection was down for eight days this month. Though no figures are available, the loss is significant given that April and May are peak tourist seasons.

Cyber cafés, too, are worried. “There has been a complete breakdown of the DIAS for the last three days. We have to pay the connection fee to BSNL, though we earned nothing,” said B. Pradhan, who runs a café in the Super Market complex. Praful Rao, who owns a café and is the secretary of Kalimpong Consumers’ Association, alleged that there are no qualified technicians in the local BSNL office.

The BSNL has outsourced the work of laying DIAS cables to Banyan Network, a Chennai-based private company whose technicians, incidentally, arrived today to repair the fault. “Our men tried their best, but were not successful. That is why we approached the Chennai people. The fault will be repaired soon,” said Dipankar Deb, subdivisional officer of telecom services.

Rao warned that if things continued to remain as they were, subscribers might take the department to consumer court.

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