Chandigarh: Amid reports of disconnection of power supply to various mobile towers across Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday appealed to protesting farmers not to inconvenience the public with such actions but to continue to exercise the same restraint as they had been showing over the past several months of their agitation.
Pointing out that telecom connectivity had become even more critical for people amid the Covid pandemic, he urged the farmers to show the same discipline and sense of responsibility which they had been exercising during their protest at the Delhi border, which has completed one month, and also earlier during their agitation in the state.
Urging the farmers not to take the law in their hands by forcibly shutting down telecom connectivity or manhandling employees and technicians of telecom service providers, the Chief Minister said such actions were not in the interest of Punjab and its future.
He said the people of Punjab, had been standing with the farmers in their fight against the ‘black’ farm laws, and would continue to do so, and requested the farmers to reciprocate by ensuring that the battle for justice does not cause any problems for the people of the state.
Forceful disruption of telecom services due to snapping of power supply to mobile towers by farmers in several parts of the state was not only adversely affecting the studies and future prospects of students, who are dependent entirely on online education, but also hampering the daily life of people working from home due to the pandemic, said the Chief Minister.
Further, the disruption of telecom services would also seriously affect the state’s already disturbed economy, he noted, exhorting the farmers to continue with their peaceful protests without causing any inconvenience to the citizens of Punjab.
Amarinder Singh pointed out that the prolonged economic crisis, which would be aggravated as a result of telecom service disruption in the state, would have a trigger-effect on the agriculture sector, as well as the farming community too.
The effects would be detrimental to all sections, he said, adding that such actions would adversely impact his government’s efforts to attract more investment in the telecom sector as part of its recently announced New Telecom Guidelines 2020, which was also aimed at improving telecom connectivity in the state.
In the wake of Covid-19, the urgency of these guidelines was felt seriously as there was dire need to improve connectivity through easing right of way permissions for overground and underground telecom infrastructures.
The guidelines were expected to give a quantum jump to the telecom and internet connectivity in the state. Punjab is one of the states with the highest telecom density.
The Chief Minister’s appeal came in the wake of a request from the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), a registered body of telecom infrastructure providers, asking the state government to persuade the farmers not to resort to any unlawful activity in their fight for justice.