Tariq Aziz (Citizen Journalist)
The resilience of university students from a comparatively backward district Shangla forced a multinational cellular company to provide better services to its customers.
Ameer Nawaz, a resident of Keri village in district Shangla narrates his ordeal how he was compelled to take the bull by the horns.
“Since Shangla is a hilly district, mobile internet service was always very poor in our area. Though, there was the landline service of the PTCL, but after the opening of mobile internet service, majority of the people abandoned the service and starting using the mobile technology,” Nawaz narrates.
“Unluckily, only one cellular company, the Telenor, has been providing internet service while rest of the companies never bothered to extend their operation to Shangla. Earlier, we had enough mobile internet signals but over a period of time, the 3G and 4G signals started deteriorating. The local people lodged numerous complaints at the regional office of the cellular company but to no avail,” he maintains.
“The problem started when different universities, colleges and schools started online classes and students were required to take the same from their homes via internet as the government had closed down all educational institutions across the country. Due to poor internet connectivity, the students were facing hardships in taking their classes online,” Ameer Nawaz informs.
“We approached the local management of the mobile company, but our requests fell on deaf ears as no practical steps were taken to address our grievances. We also contacted the officials of the district administration who sought a three-week deadline. After the expiry of the deadline, we were told that the company was not serious in addressing our grievances and we should work out an alternate plan,” Ameer Nawaz recalls.
“A group of the local youth took to the road and stopped fuel supply to the main tower of the mobile company. With the suspension of the fuel supply to the main tower, the company lost phone connectivity in the entire district as, the main tower was further connected with about two dozen other towers. It brought the company’s officials to the table talk. They requested us to restore the fuel supply to the main tower of the company and in return, pledged to improve internet signals in the area,” Nawaz reveals.
“However, we turned down the request and instead, continued our protest. Finally, the district administration and the local police intervened. The deputy commissioner invited the company’s officials and the resilient youth to his office. They gave us a written undertaken and pledged to restore 3G and 4G signals within a week time, he continues.
Ameer Nawaz adds that following the written assurance, teams of technical experts visited the area and the problem was sorted out.
“It is a big relief for students who were not able to take online classes at their home and had to travel to Bisham. It is also helpful for other general public who had to waste their time and energy to get their work done,” a rejoiced Nawaz concludes.