Internet, phone lines still down in Chandigarh


Chandigarh : Internet services and many telephone lines remained paralysed for the fourth day Tuesday in Chandigarh after a major fire crippled a telephone exchange of the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).

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The administration has now ordered an inquiry into the cause of the blaze at the Sector 17 telephone exchange Saturday. The fire had crippled telecommunication services in the city as well as adjoining areas in Punjab and Haryana.

A three-member committee headed by Chandigarh's additional deputy commissioner will conduct the inquiry. The other two members are a superintending engineer of the administration's engineering department and a BSNL engineer.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within a month.

"Nearly 200 engineers and officials of BSNL and others are working on a war-footing to restore telephone lines, Internet and other services. Equipment is being replaced and cabling is being done. It will take some time to restore normalcy," said D.R. Paul, principal general manager of BSNL.

Over 50,000 landlines continued to be non-functional and Internet cafes were out of business for the fourth day.

The Chandigarh administration and other government and private agencies have made alternate arrangements through private telecom operators and satellite phones to make communication possible for essential services.

Long distance calls, both national and international, could not be made from BSNL numbers connected through the Sector 17 exchange. BSNL officials said restoring normalcy in operations could take up to one week as equipment was extensively damaged in the fire.

They claimed that most mobile numbers were functioning now even though users complained that connectivity was poor.

"My BSNL mobile works at some places and not at others. I am also not able to connect to other BSNL numbers properly," said Rajat Sharma, a banker.