BSNL equipments worth crores razed by arsonists

Raju Das

SHILLONG, Oct 8 – Arsonists burned down a BSNL warehouse last night, damaging equipment worth crores of rupees, meant for new mobile connection and 3G network in Meghalaya, during the ongoing agitation for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya.

The incident occurred at about 11.45 pm last night at the outskirts of the city at Mawlai, when the warehouse, hired by a private vendor supplying costly equipments of the BSNL, was set on fire. In the process, costly equipments such as batteries, air conditioners, etc., for its Base Transceiver Station (BTS) sites were totally gutted.

“The chowkidar of the warehouse informed that there has been a fire and explosions at about 11.45 last night. The initial estimate of the loss is about Rs 15 crore to Rs 20 crore, but the exact loss would be known after proper assessment,” NF Ansari, Senior General Manager of the BSNL Circle-I said.

He added, all the equipments were meant for new mobile connection for its 3G network and also connection at the rural fringes of the State, where there is no network. The damage to the equipments would mean that there would be delay of about months as fresh orders have to be made.

“There would be definite delay in the purchase of the new equipments as these can’t be bought off the shelves and that would set us back by months to have new connections in Meghalaya and it is also a setback to the 3G network connection,” Ansari said.

BSNL Circle-I overlooks the telephone network in the States of Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Luckily, the equipments meant for Tripura and Mizoram for the 3G network upgrade and new connections did not arrive when the incident happened last night.

Meanwhile, the East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police M Kharkrang said that the police has arrested one Alanlas Kyllait for his involvement in the arson.

The ten NGOs, comprising of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo students have called night road blockades from October 7 to 9 nights from 7 pm to 5 am the next morning.