Local telephone call costs Rs 12

Himalayan News Service

Hetauda, June 19:

Local consumers have to pay the price of STD calls for making local calls in Bhimphedi, as two code numbers are being used. They have to pay at least Rs 12 per minute for a telephone call. Though Bhimphedi is the old headquarter of the district, it is devoid of any communication facility. Currently, only two telephone lines are in use in the VDC.

According to consumers, the code number provided by the BTC Bhimphedi branch is 019 while the other one has the code number of the capital 01. Apart from the huge telephone bills, customers have to bear technical disturbances. One has to remain silent while the person from the other end talks. The actual code number of the district is 057. Locals said that telephone line distribution has been done through MARTS system but the service is not up to the mark, as the line gets disconnected all of a sudden.

The Maoists attack on Ashwin 29 last year left the telephone tower damaged and the code number of the area changed. Only three employees are working in the NTC branch office, presently. Daman Rana, an office employee, said that locals encounter problems daily. Due to the huge cost for a telephone call, only 20 to 25 people come to use the service daily. There is another telephone booth at Bhainse, 11-km from Bhimphedi. But locals prefer to come to Hetauda, which is 22-km away to make calls. However, the service is not reliable in Hetauda also. Bekh Bahadur Magar reached Hetauda to make a call, from Chiuri Bagaincha in Nibuwatar. He called up the capital to talk to his son but the line got disconnected thrice. Despite that, he had to pay the price of a three-minute talk.