On the request of the State Government, Government of India has constituted a committee to review telecom services in the state of Sikkim, said a press release received from Department of Information Technology, Government of Sikkim. The committee is comprised of the Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim as the Chairman, Principal Director, I.T as the member Secretary and other members include Secretary, IPR, Government of Sikkim, DGP, Sikkim, Police HQ, Joint Secretary (T) from the Department of Telecommunication, Gol, CGM and GM,BSNL –West Bengal and Gangtok circle, GOC, Army HQ and BRO, Swastik.
The committee held its first meeting on the 17th February 2011 at the Conference Hall, Tashiling Secretariat, Gangtok. The Chief Secretary addressed the committee by welcoming the members and other invites and expressed his concern on the telecom issues prevailing in the state of Sikkim. Sikkim, including its capital Gangtok, has been facing internet and telephone connectivity problem over the years. The problem has worsened in last few weeks. Principal Director I.T, Shri Rajesh Verma gave a briefing on the current status and issues relating to the internet connectivity which is being provided by BSNL, the main service provider in the state. There has been severe lack of manpower, backup provisions, spare parts and other problems undermining the reliability and efficiency of the telecom network.
K.N. Bhutia, Secretary to the Governor mentioned his concern about issues of connectivity and its improvement and has asked the BSNL to take immediate steps to solve the problems. BRO and the Army echoed similar problems during the meeting. In response to the issues addressed by the various members the CGM, BSNL West Bengal circle and the GM, BSNL, mentioned that the reasons for bad connectivity were OFC breakage, OFC thefts and rough terrain due to Sikkim being a Hilly region. The CGM, BSNL, WB circle also made a presentation on the current status of connectivity across the state. The Chairman mentioned that these days with most of the systems being run online there arise a need to have a reliable and good connectivity and BSNL should work its ways to provide better services so as to maintain a good functioning of the system.
CGM, BSNL has taken up the matter seriously and will do the necessary to improve connectivity.
The GM, RBI Mr. E. Karthak also complained that the banking sector was facing such issues in connectivity blackouts and as a result, they are not able to conduct banking transaction sometimes for days together. During telecom blackouts ATM’s are also severely affected creating great inconvenience for the tourist.
The meeting also took advice and suggestions from the members to improve the connectivity in the State. DGP advised BSNL to hire private security to solve the problems of thefts of OFC cables. The representatives of Energy and Power, NIC, Army and Border Roads Organization also actively participated in the deliberations. The committee would meet once in a quarter. This high level committee will help resolve various connectivity issues and also monitor the measures taken by BSNL to combat the telecommunication woes being faced by the State.