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Naidu directs telecom operators to expedite network restoration post Hudhud damage

Keeping in view the badly-hit communication systems in Cyclone Hudhud-ravaged Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday directed all the telecom operators to expedite the process of restoring their cellular networks.

“While state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has restored 78% of its damaged network in Vizag, private operators have lagged behind with 40-45%. I need a detailed report on your (operators) restoration efforts every hour,” Naidu told the telcos.

According to Parakala Prabhakar, communications adviser to the Andhra Pradesh government, Airtel chief Sunil Mittal and representatives from Vodafone, Idea, Uninor and Reliance were among those who met Naidu at the collectorate today.

“Sunil Mittal, while stating that they were willing to restore their networks as early as possible, raised concerns over non-cooperation from building owners where their cell towers were installed,” Prabhakar said, adding the operators would be holding a separate meeting this evening to discuss their next course of action.

The chief minister said the government had already restored 25% of the power supply while the remaining would be restored in the next 15 days.

“We are in discussion with companies like Tata and L&T for the same,” he said, adding the government would recreate the lost greenery in Vizag by developing landscaping etc with the help of Kadiyam Nursery in East Godavari district.

Meanwhile, Nishi Vasudeva, chairperson and managing director of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), who called on Naidu today, said it would take another 10 days to restore operations at its Vizag refinery.

“We, however, have sufficient petrol and diesel stock to cater to the requirements of Vizag city,” she said.

Vizag IT industry sees Rs 20-crore loss

The IT industry in Visakhapatnam has witnessed a loss of Rs 20 crore on account of the cyclone, said IT minister Palle Raghunath Reddy.

“Systems and servers had been damaged in about 15 IT firms. They are also facing power interruptions. The government is committed to fully support these companies in all possible ways,” he said after visiting the IT special economic zone (SEZ) complex at Madhuravada today.

The state government is in discussion with insurance companies to assess the loss and pay the claims to the IT firms at the earliest, he said, adding over 40 IT companies were evincing interest in setting up shop in Vizag.

“We will provide all kinds of incentives to such firms. A single-window clearance system is already in place and our aim is to garner Rs 10,000 crore revenues from IT products,” Reddy said.

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