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2 Jun 2018

PM comes calling, Visva phones beep BSNL repair after 3-year snooze

The central office of Visva-Bharati in Santiniketan. Picture by Indrajit Roy
SNEHAMOY CHAKRABORTY, TT, Jun 02, 2018, Santiniketan: Thirty-six defunct BSNL landline connections at Visva-Bharati were reactivated recently in the wake of chancellor and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.

Vishwa Bharati officials said the dormant connections had received no treatment for the past three years in spite of several official communications with the central telecom department, who were unable to either repair or supply new cables.

"Several people complained to us that they failed to communicate with several departments like examination, academic and research as well as public relations office. But we had nothing to do as BSNL was not heeding our appeal," a varsity official said, alluding to the importance of these phones in their work.

Though the Prime Minister departed from the convention of providing a sop or financial gift to the university on this visit, varsity officials were content with the reprieve brought by the newly functioning phones.

"After the Chancellor as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit was confirmed, BSNL officials spontaneously contacted us and repaired the telephone lines. It was only possible following visit of our chancellor. We were facing so many problems for not having landline connections," Sabuj Koli Sen, officiating vice chancellor of Visva-Bharati, told The Telegraph.

A deputy registrar said: "A day after visit of our chancellor one official from computer centre called me up to check the landline which has been repaired. We kept the receiver and fax machine in the heap of rejected materials. Then we took it out from garbage and activated it. We thought telephones would not be repaired anymore. Now we are using the landline after three years."

BSNL officials, however, cited several reasons for the damage caused to the optical fibre that had caused the phone lines to remain defunct. "Optical fibres were damaged in several parts of Bolpur following constructions of road and drain and an important rail over bridge. We always tried to repair it as soon as we can. However, before visit of the Prime Minister, we could manage to do it," BSNL engineer Tapan Karmakar said.

BSNL officials also stated that the varsity owed Rs 40,000 in unpaid bills. "There will overdue bills. We will pay it. But it is good to at least have the phones back after Modi's visit," a varsity official said.

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