By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, May 10, 2019: Faced with total collapse of infra hit by Fani, the extremely severe cyclonic storm, Odisha is trying its best to recover. The summer storm of intense severity has wreaked damage on the telecom operators facilities in Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, crippling mobile and landline services.

Odisha’s telecom infrastructure has suffered the biggest loss with government officials estimating the loss to about Rs 1000 crore. The detailed reports on devastation to the telecom infrastructure facilities is being worked out.

At Puri, the site of the cyclone’s landfall, a staggering 91 per cent of about 800 BTSes (Base Transceiver Stations) have been damaged extensively. In Bhubaneswar region and Cuttack district, the damage to BTS is assessed at 35 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively. Bhubaneswar has 1,800 BTS towers while Cuttack district is home to 1,200 towers.

Telecom operators have been now asked to mobilise cell on wheels (CoW). The state government is supporting the operators by providing them generators to run the services as power still eludes about half of the consumers in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

Private telecommunications service provider Airtel has taken the lead to restore connectivity and resume operations in the cyclone-hit regions. It has deployed 13 CoWs in Puri-Bhubaneswar belt to re-establish connectivity and improve network coverage. Jio and Vodafone are also taking measures to provide services through CoW.

For providing telecom services in the remote locations affected by the cyclone, the Department of Telecommunications has permitted intra-circle roaming (ICR) which allows users to avail services of other network operators in Odisha. Despite all interventions, full restoration of telecom services is still a few days in the waiting.

Fani has affected 14 districts in the state, knocking down essential services like power and water supply apart from telecom. Official figures have pegged the human casualty due to cyclone at 41.

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