As the states of West Bengal and Odisha grapple with the aftermath of the super cyclone Amphan that left 72 dead, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General SN Pradhan said on Thursday that 90 per cent of the power and telecom infrastructure has been restored in Odisha and the remaining will be done in the next 24 hours.
Telecom companies Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have said their teams were working to restore the services in the states and they might even deploy temporary sites in case the damage caused to the existing sites is irreversible.
“Field personnel for repair and restoration work will be available round the clock. All critical spares, fibre, batteries and diesel have been stocked at key locations for faster response and minimum downtime,” said an Airtel spokesperson said. Provisions have also been made for quick deployment of temporary sites (cell on wheels) in case of damage to the existing sites. Intra Circle Roaming, which allows operators to collaborate and use each other’s networks wherever required, has been tested to ensure that Airtel users stay connected, he added.
Vodafone Idea said severe cyclonic conditions on the eastern coast and massive power outages have disrupted voice and data services. “Vodafone Idea teams are working in extremely tough conditions to restore connectivity at the earliest.”
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The telecom infrastructure was impacted mainly due to the disruption in electricity supply, said a person close to the development.
While, the power transmission infrastructure was restored within hours of disruption, the last mile connectivity in terms of electricity distribution to the end consumer is yet to be restored fully.
As far as the transmission lines that went off the grid, it was mainly due to sudden drop in demand. “The transmission of electricity by the grid network has been diverted to other states,” said an official.
A couple of days before the cyclone was expected to make a landfall in the two states, the Union ministry of power had said it had put in place adequate arrangements/preparedness to handle power supply situation in the wake of the cyclone forecast. Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO), the National Grid Operator is keeping close watch on the situation.