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DoT gears up to handle telecom network disruption from 'Amphan' cyclone

New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) The Department of Telecom (DoT) has set up a round-the-clock control room for managing and restoring communication network disruption in view of the impending super cyclonic storm 'Amphan', a top official said on Tuesday.

Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said arrangements have been made to send SMS alerts to people in local languages and mobile subscribers will automatically get connected to any network that will be available in the area during the crisis.

'The cyclone is very dangerous but despite this we will normalise the situation very soon and minimise the damage,' Prakash told reporters while briefing media about preparation for communication networks.

Amphan developed into a super cyclone over the Bay of Bengal on Monday and has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal when it makes landfall, the government had said.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall on the West Bengal coast on Wednesday afternoon between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya island in Bangladesh.

It is expected to have a devastating wind speed of 155-180 kilometer per hour that can damage telecom towers, uproot trees and electricity poles.

Prakash said people will be able to connect with any network available in their area without paying any extra charge as the government has allowed roaming arrangements among telecom operators in the affected areas.   Broadband connections of hospitals and district authorities - revenue department, collector, police, SP - will be repaired on priority basis so that whosoever is providing leadership in controlling the operations should remain connected, Prakash said.

He said telecom operators have been asked to keep sufficient generator sets with diesel in each district to provide power supply to mobile towers when electricity is disrupted.

'Special focus will be on base station controllers (BSC) and mobile switching centres. Many towers are connected with base station controllers. Any damage to BSC affects several towers,' Prakash said.

He said telecom operators have been asked to keep spare parts and optical fibre in place for repairing the damages that may be caused by the cyclone.

Industry body COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said: 'We are hoping that telecom networks will be up and running throughout the incident. With all of the preparation, we expect to maintain up time on the network without any serious deficiency. All things have been managed to the best we can.' He said some of the mobile towers that have switched to solar energy may get impacted but arrangements have been made to restore any damage in a short time. PTI PRS  ANU ANU