Yaas impact on telecom infra minimal, voice messages used first time to alert people: DoT

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New Delhi, May 26 (PTI) The government on Wednesday said there was the minimal impact of the cyclone on telecom infrastructure and the networks were extensively used to alert people in local languages to reduce damages.

Telecom secretary Anshu Prakash told PTI that it was the first time voice messages were used to reach out to people in local languages and alert them about the cyclone Yaas threat.

'This is the first time voice alerts were sent to people in their local language, which should have had an impact. Telecom service providers (TSPs) readily cooperated to offer this facility free of cost. We will add this facility as standard protocol for disaster management,' Prakash said.

The cyclone impacted districts are East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Bakura, South 24 Pargana and Jhargram in West Bengal and Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj in Odisha, the Department of Telecom (DoT) said in a statement.

'On May 24 and 25, the Common Alert Protocol (CAP) of DoT and CDoT were extensively used by state disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) in West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to disseminate the cyclone alert messages free of cost.

“A total of more than 6 crore bulk messages were sent in local languages alerting local residents. Of these, 3.87 crore were in West Bengal, 2.43 crore in Odisha and 36.4 lakhs in Andhra Pradesh,' the DoT statement said.

According to a source, the impact on telecom infrastructure has been to the tune of 5-7 per cent and mainly because of power outages. The services in the affected area will be restored once the power is made available.

Review and restoration action meetings at the level of telecom secretary were held earlier.

The meetings were held on Wednesday morning and evening as well with the telecom Service Providers- Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and BSNL, infrastructure providers -- ATC, Indus Towers, ASCEND, Tower Vision and Summit Digital and the industry body TAIPA.

The DoT has allowed intra-circle roaming in the cyclone hit area to enable subscribers to latch on whichever telecom network is available in their area without any extra cost.

This includes East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Bankura, Jhargramand and South 24 Pargana in West Bengal and Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj in Odisha.

'The combined efforts of TSPs and Infrastructure Providers coordinated by the Department of Telecommunications has ensured that restoration of the damaged network has commenced, and even the minimal outages in the telecom networks will be restored very quickly,' the statement said. PTI PRS BAL BAL