Closure costs NT Rs 3m daily

Kathmandu, February 12:

Demanding the resumption of pre-paid mobile phone, VHF, MARTS and PSTN services and compensation for the loss that Nepal Telecom (NT) has incurred during the closure period, the Central Joint Struggle Committee of NT made public their week-long protest programmes in the capital today.

The closure of the services is causing NT a revenue loss of nearly three million rupees daily on one hand and on the other the largest telecommunication service provider of the country is devoid of exploiting its resources to its limit, said Kumar Jung Karki, president of Nepal Telecommunication Workers Union (NTCWU).

He said that the government has closed the services without any reasons. “The answer given by the state minister for the closure of pre-paid mobile services is not justifiable,” he added.

The employees of the NT will wear a black band on their arms as a protest on Monday and Tuesday. From Wednesday onwards they will gherau managing director and other regional directors, they said.

“Every citizen has a right to information and at a time when our neighbouring country is so aggressive in widening and providing telecommunication services at a minimum rate, we have been deprived of such services,” said Tanka Lal Shrestha, president of the Telecommunication Employees Association Nepal (TEAN).

“The NT has spend less than ten per cent of its development budget in this fiscal year, said Karki adding that the total development budget of NT is about Rs 71 million.

“We have not yet been able to spend Rs 10 million due to regular disturbances created by the

government,” Karki added.

Meanwhile, Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights-Nepal through a press release has also urged for the early resumption of the pre-paid mobile services of Nepal Telecom and Spice Nepal.

“More than 350,000 customers have been devoid of the telecommunication services and it is a violation of Consumer Protection Act-2054 and also UN Guideline for Consumer Protection 1985, the press release states.

The government has — citing security reasons — stopped the pre-paid mobile services of Nepal Telecom and Spice Nepal, the provider of the Mero Mobile and WLL phone services of UTL on Januaruy 19.

The government — after the pressure — has permitted the UTL to operate its services but the pre-paid services of NT and Spice Nepal’s Mero Mobile is yet to be resumed.

Mahesh Pandit, a consumer, said “Such an irresponsible act by the government will not only harm the investment climate but also hit the revenue collection. Government should immediately start the operations of the pre-paid services of NT and Mero Mobile.”

“Nepali security agencies should be more technology-friendly and use it to trace the criminal activities, barring the technology is not the permanent solution,” pandit said.