More than 1,500 telecom towers in Punjab have been damaged by farmers protesting against the three farm laws, disrupting products and services in some pockets, sources said.
Power provide to towers that relay telecom signals used to be snapped and cables cut in several parts of the state as farmers vented their anger on the infrastructure owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s firm Jio as they saw him in conjunction with infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani as major beneficiaries of the new laws.
Neither Ambani’s Reliance group nor Adani’s companies are into the trade of procuring foodgrains from farmers.
“Till the day past, 1,411 towers were damaged and today the count has gone polite past 1,500,” a source with knowledge of the matter said.
In Jalandhar, some bundles of Jio’s fibre cable were also burnt.
Jio has 9,000 plus towers in the state.
Another source said the commonest way of damaging the telecom towers used to be to bring to an end the power provide.
In no less than one case, the generator at a tower site used to be physically taken absent and allegedly donated to a native gurudwara.
Videos of Jio employees being threatened and made to flee have gone viral.
The attacks have impacted telecom products and services and operators are struggling to take care of products and services in absence of action by law enforcement agencies, the source said.
The Punjab chief minister had on Friday appealed to protesting farmers to not cause inconvenience to most of the people with such actions and continue to exercise the same restraint as they had shown during the last several months of their agitation.
Sources said state police have so far not acted against those damaging telecom towers and even FIRs have not been registered normally.
According to the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Organization (TAIPA), a registered body of telecom infrastructure providers, no less than 1,600 towers have been vandalised.
These include common access infrastructure as polite.
Hundreds of farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders for over a month now against the three farm laws which they see would user in end to minimum toughen price (MSP) based procurement of farm produce like wheat and paddy.
The government has denied the apprehensions, saying MSP will continue and the new laws only supply farmers an alternative market to sell their produce.
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