Over 1,200 residents of South Mumbai are in a fix. Their landlines have not been functioning for close to two weeks after heavy rains and water-logging affected their phone connections. And while most of their friends’ and colleagues’ numbers are on their mobile phones, residents are angry that they have been unable to get in touch with their general physicians, hospital board lines, cooking gas agency offices or the local shop that delivers goods home.
The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited authorities have so far failed to respond to many of the complaints. A fortnight after the first of the complaints started pouring in, over 1,000 lines are yet to be repaired.
The reason for the problem, however, has been identified. Two major cable lines have been damaged in Mumbai Central and Lamington Road. These lines not only provided connection to residential areas but also to offices. So, official work has also been hampered as fax and internet services have been affected. Faisal Khan, owner of Faisal communication said, “Since the start of the monsoon, there have been problems with the connections. Then it completely went dead. I had to call the helpline to get my problem resolved.”
Dr Wiqar Shaikh, a resident of Marine Lines, said, “I am a doctor. My patients contact me through my landline. It has been over two weeks and the officials keep saying it will be repaired soon. Why should I pay them when my connection is not working for over two weeks?”
However, it is the attitude of MTNL staff which has annoyed residents more than the problem itself. “Land lines can be affected due to the monsoon, but the lax approach from MTNL is beyond explanation,” said, Charu Gandhi, another SoBo resident.
When contacted, a sub divisional engineer with MTNL who answered to the name of Pawar, said, “It is a minor problem and we will soon deal with it. Some lines are affected every monsoon.”