MTNL building fire: 20,000 customers services affected

Updated: Jul 24, 2019, 07:41 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

The main service providing lines to Bandra, Khar and part of BKC were damaged; employees await instructions on where to work from

MTNL building fire: 20,000 customers services affected
Employees came to work on Tuesday to mark their presence. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The day after the fire that saw 84 employees rescued from the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited's (MTNL) west zone office at Bandra, staffers came to work on Tuesday to mark their presence. While no instructions were given to employees about where they will have to work from, they said they had come to the building to see if their seniors needed anything.

Customers affected

MTNL users from Bandra, Khar and certain parts of Bandra-Kurla Complex bore the brunt of the fire that broke out on Monday. About 15,000 landlines and 5,000 odd broadband services have been affected in these areas. The Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from the area has demanded a high level enquiry into the fire. A senior official from MTNL said, "There are provisions for taking connections from other exchanges, but it will take time and as the main lines to Bandra, Khar and part of BKC were damaged, the phone lines will be dead. Even the Internet services will be affected and mobile network will fluctuate since 26 mobile towers were affected as their networks were monitored from this office."

No idea about work place

While no instructions were given to the employees about where their temporary work space will be, they said that they would come to the office building and check if their seniors needed their help with anything.

Jaysingh Patil, an employee from the building department, said, "We want to be around this place as if there is anything important, we can help our seniors. Employees are coming and checking with seniors. Once the instructions about where should we work from come, we will move accordingly to nearby exchanges."

An employee who did not work from the Bandra office but resided at the staff quarters in the same building, was waiting on Tuesday to visit her house. Veena Bhatt said, "We were about four families residing in the staff quarters, and all are safe. I and my daughter were at work. My husband came down immediately after he heard the commotion and is also safe. I want to visit the house. Currently I am residing at my brother's house in Khar."

The fire broke out on Monday around 3.00 pm. The Fire Brigade rescued about 84 people unhurt from the ground plus nine-storey building. Fire officials are yet to ascertain the cause of fire. The fire-fighting operations came under control around 1.00 pm but the cooling operations continued till Tuesday evening. MTNL officials visited the premises on Tuesday evening to assess the situation and to gauge the loss. But they did not comment about the same and said that restoring affected services was the major concern.

'Focus on restoring services'

PK Purval, chairman and managing director of MTNL said, "Our focus is to restore the services of the affected 20,000 broadband and landline customers. We have already started rerouting their connections from our Vile Parle and BKC exchanges. We aim to resolve the problems within 48 hours." In a letter written to Ravishankar Prasad, Union Minister of Communications, Poonam Mahajan, MP, has stated that no fire audit was carried out in the building, there was no fire-fighting system or fire alarms and even the fire extinguishers were not enough. The letter further mentioned that a high level probe into the case was necessary.

15k
No. of landlines affected

5k
No. of broadband customers affected

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