Over 1,500 mobile phone towers in Punjab have allegedly been vandalised, disrupting telecom connectivity in Punjab, a government spokesperson said, adding that 146 towers have been impacted since Monday due to power supply disruption while the remaining have been physically damaged.
He said that some of the farmers protesting against the three farm laws enacted in September to liberalise the sector allegedly vandalised and disrupted power supply to 1,561 mobile phone towers in the state.
So far, 433 towers have been repaired. The state has 2,13,06 mobile towers spread across 22 districts.
Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday warned against vandalisation of the towers and directed strict action against those involved in it. Singh said he will not tolerate the destruction of any private or public property in Punjab and let the state plunge into anarchy. He added nobody can be allowed to take the law into their hands. Singh said his government has not objected to or stopped peaceful protests in the state against the laws. He underlined damage to property and inconvenience to the citizens cannot be tolerated.
Singh cited examinations and online education amid the Covid pandemic and added communication breakdown could seriously affect the future of students. He added the government has distributed 17,50,00 smartphones among class 12 students to equip them for the exams.
Singh said the professionals working from home because of the pandemic could lose their jobs due to such acts of violence and damage to the telecom property. He added even banking services, which are also largely dependent on online transactions, have been hit.