Industry body COAI has urged state governments to vaccinate the field workforce of telecom companies on priority basis as as they ensure continuous operation of telecommunications infrastructure, which in turn helps keep the Indian economy running.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has sought the support of the state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, West Bengal and Punjab, among others, to consider telecom field employees as frontline workers.
"During the COVID-19 pandemic India's telecom warriors are keeping Indians connected. At a time when physical distancing is critical, the telecommunications sector is instrumental in access to healthcare services to work-from-home to online education.
"I urge the State Governments to prioritise COVID-19 vaccination for frontline workforce of telecom providers and ensure that India remains operational even as we fight this global pandemic," COAI Director General S P Kochhar said in a statement.
Telephone and internet services already fall under the 'essential services' category, as per orders and directives issued both by the central and state governments.
"When the nation is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the telecom industry has stepped up and ensured availability and continuity of telecom operations throughout the country," the statement said.
Goa, Uttarakhand and Ladakh have already categorised telecom warriors as frontline workers and are helping them get the vaccines on priority.
"During the COVID-19 pandemic, the telecom warriors continue to work persistently to ensure uninterrupted service access for all. They are ensuring to keep us connected during isolation and helping to cater to increased demand and enabled provision of seamless services," the statement said.