Coronavirus in Mumbai: MTNL customers complain of poor service, WFH affected
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MTNL customers are complaining about poor internet service for the last few days, especially at a time when a number of people are working from home amid lockdown. Some customers also took their grievance on the official Twitter handle, wherein a user, Muhamaad Fahad complained of receiving bills despite having no service from MTNL since April.

Fahad a resident of Kurla has told the Free Press Journal, "Every time I call on the helpline number, they claim to resolve the issue but nothing has been done so far. The service is really poor and there is nobody to attend the grievance." The office work amid lockdown has also been badly affected due to MTNL's poor internet service, claimed Fahad. Similar complaints were made by other MTNL customers on its Twitter.

Arvind Sawant, Member of Parliament (MP) from Mumbai's Malabar Hill Constituency, who is the chairman of the MTNL Kamgar Sangh said in the initial days of lockdown the telecom service employees were not allowed to travel in train. "Most of the employees of MTNL stay in outskirts of Mumbai like Badlapur, Ambernath, Kalyan in Central suburbs and Virar, Vasai in Western suburbs, which is why they could not come to office. After I requested the government, all public sector undertakings (PSUs), including the telecom service employees were considered under essential service list. For instance if someone has to call an ambulance they will do it from their phone and if the network is bad or has some problem how will the person call? Considering the importance of telecom they have been included into essential service criteria," Sawant stated.

Due to lack of transport mode the work was affected but now everything is normal, he asserted.

In MTNL's Mumbai office, currently there are about 1,500 employees after a majority of employees have opted for voluntary retirement service (VRS) in February 2020. Sawant stated to fill the shortage of employees, MTNL hired 1,000 contract labourers but since this recruitments were made in February and in March lockdown was enforced the newly appointed staff could hardly join duty.

MTNL's Mumbai Executive Director Shiv Shankar did not reply when contacted for a comment.

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