Though, over the past four months, officials at the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) have been seeking time to restore their systems fully, the Nigam has not forgotten to send bills through SMS for services it has not rendered since the September 7flood. It has continued to be its head-buried-under-sand self despite the local press repeatedly highlighting shortcomings and tardiness in its restoration work. And adding to the many woes of subscribers is what can only be described as discrimination, as reports have been received of selective restoration of services in areas like Lal Chowk and Jawahar Nagar, and proffering lame excuses in case of one locality when necessary repairs have been carried out in an immediately adjoining one.
The inordinate delay in making itself useful again, particularly for people depending on telecommunications for business, professional and educational reasons, could be attributed to the primitive approach of the individuals running the Nigam, but under what head but stupidity can one list billing subscribers denied connectivity for months? If the Nigam’s existing staff and technical tools are not competent to restore the system, they ought to be replaced – by those who can deliver – to justify the near monopoly it enjoys in Kashmir, particularly in Srinagar, and the resulting massive accruals.
Subscribers shortchanged on varied counts have now decided to take recourse of consumer courts, and are seeking legal opinion for due notice to the Nigam. To save itself from possible embarrassment, the BSNL must speed up its restoration process. And tender an apology over shooting off bills without having done anything to earn them.