Landlines didn't ring. Mobile phones pleaded unavailability. And the Internet played hide-and-seek.
Subscribers of BSNL had a tough time staying connected for the better half of Tuesday, courtesy a "cable snag" that also took a heavy toll on banking activities and share trading in the steel city. The problem began around 10am and continued till evening.
"Calling a mobile phone number from your BSNL landline was like a test of patience. You could just hear the recorded message saying all lines in the route were busy," said a city resident.
Another subscriber from Sonari added: "I had to urgently call my father who was away at work. I dialled his cellphone from a BSNL landline, but was told that the phone is switched off. In reality, it was not."
Frequent link failure affected banking activities and stock trading. "We are facing problems since morning. The failing link has hit cash deposit and payment, cheque clearance and other transactions. Banking has been disrupted in all our three branches," said Gagan Gupta, manager (operations) of IDBI Bank at Bistupur.
Several other private and public sector banks faced similar snags. Bank officials said BSNL had promised them an alternative, but that did not come through either. Officials at Stock Holding Corporation of India admitted that BSNL link failure inconvenienced investors who had turned up to check the status of shares on Tuesday morning.
BSNL general manager of Jamshedpur secondary switching area B.N. Singh blamed "disruption" in optical fibre cables (OFC) between the city and Ranchi for the troubles. "The disruption in OFC resulted in a circuit failure at the main telephone exchange."
There was also some technical failure at the BSNL telephone exchange in Kharagpur, which added to woes, said another official.