Internet subscribers threaten to sue BSNL


Kalimpong, Dec. 23: The Internet subscribers of BSNL here have threatened to sue the telecom service provider, demanding compensation for loss of business.

In the last four months, the Internet users in the hills have had to bear with frequent disruption of the BSNL’s broadband service, thanks to a combination of natural and man-made factors. As a result, hotelliers, travel agents and café owners have suffered losses.

“We have drafted a letter addressed to the BSNL’s general manager in Siliguri, demanding compensation,” said Praful Rao, the owner of an Internet café here.

Café owners in Darjeeling want compensation from the BSNL. “I have two connections for which I cough up Rs 7,500 every month. Even a day’s disruption in connectivity sets me back by Rs 200. Who is going to compensate me for that?” asked Bon Pradhan, a café owner in Darjeeling.

People connected with the tourism industry, too, said they lost business because of breakdown in connectivity. “Nowadays, most of the bookings are done on Net. So, it is imperative for us to remain connected if we want to optimise our business,” said Amode Yonzon, the proprietor of Park Hotel in Kalimpong.

S.K. Samanta, the BSNL’s general manger in Siliguri, said he was aware of the problem. But most of the time the disruption occurred because of the snapping of optical fibre cable (OFC) either by theft or landslides. “When that happens, it takes time to restore links despite the optimum use of our resources.” It would be of help if police could set an example by apprehending some of the criminals, he said.

Samanta also said his department was re-looking at an old proposal to lay the OFC from Siliguri to Darjeeling via Kurseong as an alternative to the present line via Mirik. “We are also thinking of laying an alternative line to Kalimpong in the future,” he added.

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