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Bangladesh restores telecom services in Indian border areas

ANI | Updated: Jan 01, 2020 21:49 IST

Dhaka [Bangladesh], Jan 1 (ANI): Backtracking from its previous decision, the Bangladesh government on Wednesday restored mobile phone networks along the border with India, considering the hassle suffered by the people living in these areas.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued an order, directing the four mobile phone operators of the country - Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk - to reinstate their network operations in the border areas, Dhaka Tribune reported.
In a statement, Brig Gen (retd) SM Farhad, Secretary-General of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (Amtob), confirmed that mobile phone networks in the border areas have been reinstated as per the BTRC instructions.
"Our correspondents at Hili, Benapole and Akhaura land ports also confirmed that the mobile networks were functioning as of 11 a.m. on Wednesday," he added.
Earlier on Monday, the mobile phone companies had to shut down their networks within one kilometre of the Bangladesh-India border following a BTRC directive.
When asked about the shutdown, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen were quoted as saying that they had been unaware of any such decision.
But sources in the BTRC and the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology said that the government undertook the decision to prevent a possible pushback on the basis of rumours, given the perceptible tension between Bangladesh and India in recent times following the enactment of the citizenship law by the Indian parliament.
On Wednesday, however, BTRC officials said they had been directed by the ministry to revoke the shutdown.
"We have already instructed the mobile phone operators to resume their services in the border areas," BTRC Chairman MD Jahurul Haque told Dhaka Tribune.
Officials speaking for the mobile phone operators said about 2,000 mobile phone towers were turned off when the shutdown was ordered, affecting 3 km of border areas inside the country in 32 border districts.
The move had affected about 10 million mobile phone subscribers in 32 districts that share the border with India and Myanmar, as about 2,000 towers are located in those areas, a BTRC official said on conditions of anonymity. (ANI)