Reliance Jio writes to Punjab CM, DGP over incidents of 'vandalism' at network sites

Reliance Jio Infocomm has written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) seeking their intervention into "incidents of sabotage and vandalism at Jio Network sites" in the state by unknown persons.

The letter alleges that police personnel at local level are not taking action or filing FIRs against vandalsism and that is why such incidents are not stopping. Jio has requested the DGP to take action.

"With due respect we would like to bring to your kind notice that in your esteemed State of Punjab, the telecom intrastructure and digital services of Reliance Jio are being sabotaged and vandalized for the past few weeks by inciting violence and our employees are not being allowed to work to provide the uninterrupted telecom services, which is an essential service for the people of Punjab," Reliance Jio Infocomm stated in its letter to the chief minister.

A malicious campaign was going on since last week of September against Relianee Jio, which has got escalated to the acts of sabotage and vandalism in the last few weeks, the letter further read.

"We have brought it to the notice of Chief Secretary, DGP Punjab and CEO-PBIP on 28.10.2020 itself by submitting representation but unfortunately the situation on the ground has only got worsened. Copies of the representation are enclosed for your ready reference," said Reliance Jio Infocomm.

"Even during the Curfew and Lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic, under your able leadership, Team Jio Punjab ensured near 100 per cent network availability to the people of Punjab," the company added.

Almost 1500 plus sites have already been damaged and vandalised till yesterday and more incidents are being reported across Punjab. Estimated cost of damage is already to the tune of hundreds of crores, according to Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Singh had on Monday directed police to take action against those who were vandalising mobile towers in the state.

Targeting of telecom towers continues

Dozens of telecom towers in Punjab continued to be damaged by protesting farmers and sympathisers on Tuesday, ignoring the state government order to crackdown on those vandalising telecommunication masts. Sources with knowledge of the matter said as many as 63 towers were damaged on Tuesday.

Power supply to towers belonging to Reliance Jio was snapped and cables cut in parts of the state as farmers vented their anger on the infrastructure owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani's firm as they saw him along with infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani as major beneficiaries of the three new farm laws.

Neither Ambani's Reliance group nor Adani's companies are in the business of procuring food grains from farmers.

Jio repaired some of the towers that were damaged over the past few days, they said, adding 826 sites were down as of Tuesday afternoon.

The masts damaged were in places such as Amritsar, Bhatinda, Chandigarh, Firozpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Pathankot, Patiala and Sangrur, the sources said.

Jio has 9,000 plus towers in the state.

Hundreds of farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders for over a month now against the three farm laws, which they see would end the minimum support price (MSP) based procurement of farm produce like wheat and paddy.

The government has denied the apprehensions, saying MSP will continue and the new laws only provide farmers an alternative market to sell their produce.

Talks to break the deadlock are scheduled for

(With agencies)

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