Begin typing your search...

Jio seeks Punjab CM's intervention to safeguard telecom infra, urges action against miscreants

With its telecom infrastructure in the state being damaged during farmers' protest, Reliance Jio has written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seeking his intervention for action against those responsible for the incidents of 'sabotage and vandalism'.

Jio seeks Punjab CMs intervention to safeguard telecom infra, urges action against miscreants


In a letter to the chief minister, Jio flagged the acts of sabotage and vandalism at its network sites ''by unknown persons in the disguise of ongoing farmers agitation''.

It alleged that the damage being inflicted is ''deliberate'' in nature with ''ulterior motives and clear intent'' of causing maximum disruption to the company's infrastructure and services. ''We humbly request for your kind intervention by a direction from your good office to the district administration to take action against the miscreants who caused this damage, and prevention of any further damage as apart from losses to the infrastructure, people of Punjab are suffering because their life is getting impacted severely in carrying out their day to day activity, education, business, study etc,'' Jio said in the letter to the chief minister on December 27.

The letter comes at a time when the farmers protesting against three new farm laws have been vandalising telecom towers in Punjab under the belief that they are owned by Mukesh Ambani whom they consider along with tycoon Gautam Adani as major beneficiaries of the new laws. However, the ownership of the 9,000 towers in Punjab, and elsewhere in the country, lies with Canadian firm Brookfield, with Jio having a long term anchor-tenant relationship.

Earlier this year, a Brookfield-led team completed a Rs 25,000-crore deal to buy out Reliance Jio's tower arm. Meanwhile, industry body ASSOCHAM has also written to Punjab chief minister saying that reports of widespread damage to key infrastructure like telecom towers are disturbing and could dent the image of the state.

''Such incidents not only result in a huge national loss but also severely dent the image of a progressive state. A prolonged and continuation of the agitation, especially with incidents of damage to the industrial and other infrastructure, would turn investors away from the state of Punjab,'' Vineet Agarwal, president of ASSOCHAM said. ASSOCHAM has urged the state to step up the efforts to ensure that such incidents do not take place.

Since June, there have been widespread protests by farmers within Punjab, that have spilled over to Haryana and the National Capital Region (NCR). ''The blockade of important highways connecting J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and the NCR has been resulting in a daily loss of Rs 3,000-3,500 crore, as per our earlier estimates. It has been over a month that these highways are blocked with the result that the losses to the economic activities are mounting while the image of the state, as an investment destination, is taking a dent,'' ASSOCHAM said.

Jio, in its letter to Punjab CM, said that those involved in incidents of sabotage and vandalisation are even posting the videos and pictures on social media as if ''boasting of their acts.'' '' situation has worsened to the extent that many persons are openly moving and damaging our sites with weapons, posing a threat and risk not only to the telecom infrastructure but also to the life of thousands of our direct and indirect employees,'' said the letter written by Tajinder Pal Singh Walia, State Head - Reliance Jio Infocomm, Punjab Circle. Jio said such is the extent of fear and threats looming in the environment that its own employees are being forced to get out of offices.

''Across Punjab, we have approximately 250 Jio offices and showrooms, but our employees are not being allowed to enter their own office which is causing a feeling of scare and insecurity and risk of employment and earning livelihood to them,'' it said in the letter seen by PTI. A mail sent to Reliance Jio on the issue did not elicit a response.

Jio's letter further claimed that ''as per local inputs from field, such activities are likely to be intensified tremendously resulting in many more such acts of sabotages at other critical network locations.'' Urging state authorities to safeguard the telecom infrastructure, connectivity and services, the company has also sought police protection for its employees for timely repair and restoration of the sites which have already been damaged. Reliance Industries has invested more than Rs 20,000 crore in building telecom infrastructure across all the 22 districts, tehsil, sub-tehsils and over 12,000 villages, as well as in hundreds of retail showrooms, it said.

More than 1,500 telecom towers in Punjab have been damaged during the farmers' protest against the new farm laws. The Punjab chief minister on Monday directed police to take strict action against vandalisation of mobile towers and disruption of telecom services in the state during the farmers' stir.

Asserting that he will not let Punjab plunge into anarchy at any cost and nobody can be allowed to take the law into their hands, the chief minister had said he had been forced to toughen his stance as his repeated appeals to perpetrators of such acts had been ignored..

Visit to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Next Story