Officials assure that towers near the Kalapet Central Prison will be relocated in a few days

Incensed by the lack of cell phone signal, the general public resorted to road roko at six different places along the East Coast Road following the High Court’s decision to remove the cell phone tower near the Kalapet Central Prison.

Traffic on ECR was disrupted for over three hours from 8.30 am onwards on Monday.

Road rokos were staged at Kalapet, Chinna Kalapet, Pillaichavady, Keezh Puthupet, Bommiyarpalaam and Ganakachettikulam, with over 2000 people participating.

It was only after assurance from the Revenue Department that the towers would be relocated within a day or two that the crowd dispersed.

“For almost one week now, we have not had proper signal; so it is out of frustration that we decided to stage a road roko. These days, very few people have landline phones, so everyone relies on the cell phone. Unless the signal is returned, the people in the villages surrounding the prison will suffer,” one of the protesters said.

The authorities should make sure that the people in the prison do not use their cell phone. If they want to control the phone use in the prison, they should make the jammers more effective. Instead they are penalising the general public, he said.

According to the police, Lt. Governor Virendra Kataria had visited the prison last year and ordered that the cell phone tower be removed. Subsequently, the government had switched off the towers. After that, the cell phone companies approached the High Court, which eventually ruled that the towers should be removed. Since then, the government has switched off the tower which has affected 16 villages in the nearby areas.

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