Cellular operators’ body writes to CMs to prioritise vaccination for telecom workers

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 13, 2021

S P Kochhar, Director General, COAI

Points out that the field force has ensured that telecom lines have been up and running through the pandemic

Following up its request to the Health Ministry, the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) on Thursday said it has written to Chief Ministers and Health Secretaries of States urging them to prioritise Covid-19 vaccination for ‘telecom warriors’.

The representative body for the telecommunications industry, said the telecom field force ensures that telecommunications infrastructure is always operational, which in turn helps keep the economy running.

It has sought the support of the State governments of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and others to consider telecom field employees as ‘frontline workers’ and put them on the priority list for vaccination.

The industry body thanked the Goa, Uttarakhand and Ladakh governments for categorising telecom personnel as frontline workers and vaccinating them on priority.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic ‘telecom warriors’ have kept people connected. The sector has been instrumental in ensuring access to healthcare services, work-from-home and online education. I urge the State governments to prioritise Covid-19 vaccination for the frontline workforce of telecom providers and ensure that India remains operational even as we fight this global pandemic,” S P Kochhar, Director General, COAI, said.

Telephone and Internet services fall in the ‘Essential Services’ category in line with the directives issued by the Central and State governments, he said, adding that as the nation fights the pandemic, the telecom industry has stepped up and ensured availability and continuity of telecom operations throughout the country.

“These ‘telecom warriors’ are keeping us connected during isolation and has catered to increased demand and enabled provision of seamless services. It is impossible for people to function – conduct everyday business, bank, learn, utilise telehealth services and simply communicate, all while minimising exposure – if the frontline workers had not been at the forefront,” he added.

Recently, Kochhar had written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Health Ministry urging them to consider telecom field workers as frontline workers and vaccinate them at the earliest. DoT Secretary, Anshu Prakash, had also written to the Health Ministry for the same, but there has been no development on that yet.

Published on May 13, 2021

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