Telecom firms extend all help to Nepal’s quake-hit

New Delhi : Telecom companies in India are going all out to help the survivors of the Nepal earthquake to contact their near and dear ones by drastically slashing their call charges.

From Vodafone to state-run BSNL, and from Airtel to MTS nearly all telecom companies providing long-distance and cell phone telephony services between India and Nepal have offered sops like Re.1 per minute call rates for two to three days as part of their efforts to help people reach out to their friends and families in quake-hit areas of Nepal.

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All calls to Nepal would be charged at Re.1 per minute against the regular call rate of Rs. 12 per minute with immediate effect till 10 a.m. on April 28, Vodafone India said.

“Vodafone India, in its efforts to support the local community and brothers of Nepal, along with other disaster relief initiatives, has announced that all calls made from its network from anywhere in India to Nepal will be charged as per local rate,” an official statement from the telecom company said.

Telecom service provider, Bharti Airtel said in a statement: “As a small gesture during this hour of crisis, we have decided to offer all calls on the Airtel network from India to Nepal completely free of cost for the next 48 hours effective (Saturday) midnight, thus enabling customers across the country get in touch with their families and friends in Nepal.”

State-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited in its statement said: “BSNL announces to allow all calls to Nepal from its network (landline and mobile) as local calls for three days with effect from April 25, 2015, as a relief measure at a juncture of disaster occurred due to earthquake in Nepal.”

“This BSNL move will help many people of Nepal who are living in India to know about their relatives in Nepal at local call rates at this juncture. It will also be helpful for Indian citizens whose relatives are in Nepal as tourists. They can contact them from BSNL network at local call rate,” BSNL chairman-cum-managing director Anupam Shrivastava said.

Starting 11 p.m. on April 25, MTS India is treating all calls made from its network to Nepal as local calls, which is Re.1 per minute.

“This is being done for the next 48 hours to support disaster relief efforts and to enable concerned callers to reach out to their friends and family in the earthquake affected areas in the neighbouring country. The company has also sent out SMS to its entire base of prepaid and post paid customers informing them about the special call rates,” the company said in a statement.

Idea Cellular also has announced that all calls made from its network from anywhere in India to Nepal will be charged as per local rate.

“Idea Cellular is facilitating all calls made to Nepal at just Re.1/min against the regular call rate of Rs.12/min, starting midnight of the 25th-26th upto the morning of the 28th of April 2015,” the company said.

In response to the earthquake in Nepal, Viber has switched off ‘Viber Out’ billing so that users in Nepal can make free calls to mobile and landline numbers anywhere for the next 48 hours, the company said.

A devastating earthquake that rattled Nepal on Saturday has left at least 3,218 people dead and around 6,500 injured, authorities said on Monday.

Rameshwor Dangal, head of Nepal’s disaster management division, came out with the latest casualty figures as rescuers stepped up work across the Himalayan nation.