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No telecommunication at St. Joseph’s College; BSNL lines cut-off

Since November 27, 2010 the students and college authorities of St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama has been living in dismal plight. The telephone lines to the entire campus have been cut off. Despite, the College authorities appealing repeatedly to their service provider ‘BSNL’, the problem is yet to be rectified.
St. Joseph’s College, situated in Jakhama Village near Kohima, is the biggest college in Nagaland with over 2200 students. Students from all over Nagaland and other northeastern states study in the college. It is difficult for any institution to function without these basic facilities.  Also, for a telecom provider this is blatant negligence of customer service.
A reporter for The Morung Express visited the college and met with the authorities, and it was learnt that on November 27, 2010 due to the Army laying water pipes, and the construction of local ground at Jakhama, several telephone lines at the college were cut off. A copy of the list of telephone lines that were cut off was also issued, which included the College main office, principal’s office, college fax, library, Career Guidance, CMC, three hostels and connection of two of the teachers. Also, phone and internet is said to work intermittently at the College residence and the college.
Speaking to college authorities and staff, it was further learnt that firstly, three broad band connections were affected. After repeated pleas, two lines were temporarily restored but now also they function with daily interruptions. The library is still without internet. And with the College having to do several transactions daily through the internet the functioning of the college is severely hampered. Also University examinations are affected with internet facility not available during examination days. College question papers are printed online in the college itself.
A letter to the General Manager, BSNL Dimapur was submitted on February 14, 2011 by the previous principal, Rev. Fr. Dr. Isaac Padinjarekuttu. Then on September 2, 2011another appeal letter was submitted to the Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio, addressed by the present principal Rev. Fr. Dr. Abraham Lotha. Reacting to the appeal letter, on September 5, 2011 a letter was directed by the CM’s office which stated: “On perusal of the letter, the Chief Minister has observed that this important educational institution should be provided with proper telephone/internet connections. Therefore request the BSNL authorities to kindly restore all the telephone/internet connections as have been outlined.” But when no action was taken, on October 15, 2011 during his visit to Nagaland a letter addressed to Rahul Gandhi, member of Parliamentary General Secretary, INC and Chairperson of NSUI was handed over to intercede with BSNL and MHRD on behalf of the college for the reconnection of telephone and internet lines.

St. Joseph College, Jakhama air out their grievances:
The college authorities revealed that it had planned on adding so many improvements to the college, like collaboration with international institutions, and expansion of departments. But which is not possible, because without a good communication system, it is impossible to run the college. “Instead of helping the college progress, BSNL seems to be intent on blocking the progress and is least helpful” said a staff of the college. The college clearly aims to allow the students to be tech savvy as is evident in the library room and internet room, which is well equipped with several computers and even wi-fi service installed. Students are also allowed to bring and make use of their own laptops. “But how is it possible to make use of all this services, when there is no broadband connection,” asked the principal of the college.  
The college also has a separate department called “Career Guidance” that handles career guidance for the students. However, with no internet connections, the department cannot keep in touch with resource persons, people cannot communicate with college authorities. The department is now “dead”. The library also has met with similar fate. “How can a library exist without internet? Students are all the time researching, but there is no internet connection” asked a staff of the college.
The boys and girls hostel were also set up with the decision of providing internet connections, and so far students have expressed unhappiness. Also, it was mentioned that earlier cell phones were not allowed, but now the college authorities have no choice but to let the students use their cells for communication. There was one PCO but not anymore because even there the network was cut off. Hence, in terms of discipline also it is affected. “You can see that the whole functioning of the college is completely disrupted” stated principal of the college.
It is shocking but the college has been paying the bills so far, both for intermittent network and null network.  On being asked why, the principal of the college said, “We kept paying in the hope that BSNL will restore the connection,” and added that it is ultimately the students who are missing out a lot. “What kind of higher education is this?” he asked.  
“We shall try to restore the connections, give us 15 days” says BSNL
When The Morung Express approached the General Manager (Telecom District) of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Satish Kumar, ITS, the General Manager produced a letter issued on September 29, 2011 submitted to Jakhama Local Council advising their workers to be more careful when digging the ground, as BSNL cables were being cut off because of the construction work. Also, the General Manager stated that the incharge at Jakhama had issued a completion report to a BSNL senior officer informing on restoration of work of damaged cable at Jakhama. The completion report was submitted on November 19, 2011. However, as it was stated by St. Joseph College Jakhama authorities, there was only repair of two numbers, and which only lasted for a few days. To this, the General Manager stated, “Services were restored but it must have been damaged again”.
The General Manager while expressing unhappiness over the inconvenience caused, said that he will depute a senior officer to survey the route and find the root cause of the problem. He said that BSNL officials will once again try to restore all the cable works within 15 days or even less than that. He also assured that alternatives will be considered to provide 24/7 service to the College at the earliest. 

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