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BSNL expansion goes kaput

Actual loss yet to be ascertained

Charred remains of the BSNL store room-cum-warehouse at Mawlai Mawiong  which was razed in a fire on Sunday night. (ST)
Charred remains of the BSNL store room-cum-warehouse at Mawlai Mawiong
which was razed in a fire on Sunday night. (ST)

SHILLONG: The alleged arson attack on the BSNL store room-cum-warehouse at Mawlai Mawiong on Sunday night will have an adverse bearing on the roll-out of mobile connections and BSNL expansion plans in the State.

According to the Senior General Manager of BSNL Mobiles, MF Ansari, in addition to recently imported equipments, several old equipments, bought by other suppliers were also destroyed in the fire, which would lead to delay in roll out of the mobile expansion proposed to be laid down for the whole State.

Ansari, however, hoped that things would get back on track and stated that BSNL will try to seek assistance from the vendors, Zte Corporation (Chinese Agency). “We will try to get additional equipment as soon as possible to make up for the loss,” he said.

The BSNL official said that the total damage is yet to be ascertained as the equipments have not yet been taken into account by BSNL. “The total loss is yet to be accessed by the vendor and the insurance agency,” Ansari said, adding that they are already in the process of lodging a complaint with the insurance agency.

Estimating that the loss could be around Rs 10-15 crore, Ansari said that proper investigation would reveal the exact loss incurred by the BSNL.

When asked about the future course of action, Ansari said that BSNL will have to look for another temporary warehouse to store their equipment. “BSNL had been using this temporary warehouse at Mawiong for the past 7 years which was maintained by a local logistics company,” he informed.

While stating that BSNL has no permanent warehouse in Meghalaya, the senior GM said that at present, there is no plan to set up a permanent warehouse as the equipments meant for the State come only for a short duration of time.

Meanwhile, narrating the incident, Ansari said, “We can’t really cite the reason but we know that the fire started from the rear side and engulfed the entire warehouse within a short time. The damage was already done before fire tenders reached the spot.”

Meanwhile, conflicting reports have emerged over the reason behind the fire incident.

While police are suspecting it to be the handiwork of volunteers of the pro-ILP groups, local residents living in the vicinity of the warehouse, claimed that the fire was caused due to explosion of the batteries kept inside the office of the warehouse.

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