Tamil Nadu

Core function of TAC remains unchanged

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They seem to have lost sheen in the era of mobile telephony

Once looked upon as privileged panels, the Telephone Advisory Committees (TACs), constituted by the Ministry of Communications to serve as a vital feedback mechanism for improvement of services, seem to have lost much of their sheen in the era of mobile telephony.

However, the protocol continues to be diligently followed with the BSNL convening the bi-annual meetings of the TACs of all its 17 Secondary Switching Areas (SSAs) in the State. BSNL Chennai Telephones, which operates an estimated 10 lakh landlines, has separate TACs for each of its four SSAs.

The core function of the TAC remains unchanged – serve as interface between telephones consumers and BSNL/MTNL, provide the public the confidence that their grievances are properly represented and redressed, educate the public on various services on offer and suggest measures for improving efficiency.

Recently though, the composition of the perk has been slightly amended to suit a situation where landlines are no longer the norm.

TAC members who are entitled to a rent-free landline now have the option to surrender it for a mobile connection with a free call value of Rs. 750 per month.

TACs, which are chaired by a senior BSNL official, usually comprise local MPs and elected representatives who are nominated by the Department of Telecom. However, while the DoT stipulates that the maximum strength of a TAC will be 20 members, the size of these bodies is a variable across SSAs. For instance, if the TAC in Madurai has 32 members, the one in Dharmapuri SSA has just two members.

Also, the average size of these panels is much bigger than the stipulated maximum of 20 members. The DoT, of course, has provision for augmenting the strength of TACs through specific orders. For instance, the biggest TACs in the State — BSNL's Coimbatore SSA and Tiruchi SSA have 83 and 54 members respectively.

A senior BSNL official said the TAC continued to be a relevant feedback mechanism. “Negative feedback is a good thing as it helps understand our shortcomings as a service provider…it forms the basis for improvement,” he said.

At a recent TAC meeting attended by the Kancheepuram MP P. Viswanathan, members raised the issue of poor mobile connectivity in areas in Kancheepuram, Tituttani, Tiruvallur and Uthiramerur. Members also urged the BSNL to formulate special tariff plans for students and senior citizens keeping in mind the unique profile of the district, which has 154 educational and medical institutions.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2019 12:50:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/core-function-of-tac-remains-unchanged/article2024284.ece

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