Towers in remote areas are easy targets for Maoists

The security of the BSNL’s mobile phone towers dotting the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas in Bhadrachalam division has come under the spotlight amid fears of renewed violence by Maoists targeting the cell phone towers in areas bordering Chhattisgarh.

The blasting of a BSNL mobile tower at Edira in Venkatapuram mandal of neighbouring Jayashankar-Bhupalapalli district by Maoists late on Sunday night reinforced the perceived Maoist offensive against the mobile communication network in Agency areas along the Telangana-Chhattisgarh border.

The ultras blasted the mobile tower of a private telecom service provider at R. Kothagudem in Charla mandal in December 2010, a BSNL cell phone tower at Bandirevu in Dummugudem mandal in 2011, two towers belonging to private telecom firms one at Pedaarlagudem and another at Kothapalli villages in the same mandal early in 2014 prior to the formation of Telangana in June the same year.

New infrastructure

In December 2014, the police thwarted the attempts by Maoists to blast a cell phone tower at Satyanarayanapuram in Charla mandal.

As many as 17 mobile phone towers were installed in Bhadrachalam division of Khammam telecom district under the Central sponsored scheme for LWE areas in the past couple of years.

In addition to these, there are around 24 BSNL mobile towers across Bhadrachalam telecom division comprising the mandals that were merged with neighboring Andhra Pradesh in 2014, BSNL sources said.

While some of the cell towers are either situated on the premises of the police station building premises or close by the police establishments, there are several that are located in remote areas in Bhadrachalam division.

Arduous task

Providing security to the cell towers in the border areas is an arduous task as they are located in vulnerable spots a few kms away from the restive inter-State border with Chhattisgarh, said an employee of BSNL, who did not wish to be identified.

When contacted, Bhadrachalam Assistant Superintendent of Police Sunil Dutt told The Hindu that constant vigil was being maintained on the mobile phone towers in Agency areas.

All necessary security arrangements are in place at the cell phone towers to protect the vital installations, he said. – The Hindu 


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