NTA seeks authority to initiate action

  • UTL service disruption

Feb 26, 2015-

As United Telecom Limited (UTL) failed to resume its services citing workers’ strike, the Nepal Telecom-munications Authority (NTA) on Wednesday sought authority from the Ministry of Information and Communications to take necessary measures.

NTA had directed UTL on Monday to resume its services as per the contract agreement, which bars any operator from halting services for more than 24 hours.

UTL services have gone down for the last one week, with all of its 198 towers dysfunctional. The company provides different telecom services to around 600,000 customers in 44 districts.

NTA Chairman Digambar Jha said after the UTL management informed the regulator about its inability to resume the services due to the strike, NTA wrote to the ministry informing about the situation and its impact on customers.

“Our concern is related to customers,” Jha said.

According to Jha, the UTL letter sent to NTA read: “We tried reinstating the service by taking technical support from the engineers of Huawei. But the agitators didn’t let us work. The situation is out of our control.”

Achyuta Nanda Mishra, deputy spokesperson for NTA, said further action would be taken based on the ministry’s response. He said NTA has not initiated any action so far as the Act suggests the regulator could either cancel the license or slap a fine.

“In both the cases, consumers would be hit and would not guarantee resumption of the services. That’s why we have taken the matter to the ministry,” he said. UTL CEO SP Pachauri expressed ignorance about the latest development.

The UTL chapter of the All Nepal Workers Union for Organisations and Financial Institutions has been organising protests putting forward a 14-point demand including salary hike by Rs 15,000 and roll back of the company’s decision to cut off 60 percent employees, which the management is unwilling to oblige.

The staffers say the lay-offs should not be done as the company is all set to acquire the unified license, but management says the number of employees is high.

Services remain disrupted

United Telecom Limited (UTL) services continue to remain disrupted, with both the management and agitating employees firm on their stance. Despite the appellate court’s order on Friday to both the sides to resume the services and Nepal Telecommunications Authority’s (NTA) 24-hour ultimatum on Monday, there is no sign of service resumption. “We have urged them (the agitators) to return back to work through a public notice as well as internal circular. But they are unwilling to come back,” UTL CEO SP Pachauri said, adding their attempts to restore the services through outsourced technicians have failed. However, Bikash Jha, president of the UTL chapter of the All Nepal Workers Union for Organisations and Financial Institutions, who is among the 10 suspended staff, said the management was not allowing them to enter the office. “Police personnel have been deployed inside the switch room and another room with equipment,” Jha said, adding they have already withdrawn their agitation based on the directive of the appellate court. While the union has been demanding the suspension order on the 10 staffers be revoked first, the UTM management is firm on its stance the staffers first resume the services. (PR)

Published: 26-02-2015 08:27

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