The Department of Telecom (DoT) will consider flood-hit Kerala's response as 'a best practice' and refine the existing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for telecom services.

This was stated by Aruna Sundararajan, Telecom Secretary, at a post-floods review meeting held here on Saturday with BSNL, other telecom service providers and telecom infrastructure providers.


"Authorities have been asked to review the existing SOPs and suggest improvements based on their learnings from Kerala," Sundararajan said. A national workshop involving all states and stakeholders will be conducted to evolve a refined SOP across the country incorporating the recent learnings, she said at the meeting.

In the aftermath of the floods and landslides, more than 20 per cent of the state’s telecom network was affected, the meeting assessed. The worst-hit districts were Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta , Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur. The total loss to service/ infrastructure providers was initially estimated at around Rs 350 crore.

More than 400 tower sites in the flood-hit areas were functioning on diesel generator sets due to power outages and because fuelling the sets was itself a challenge.

The meeting assessed that the connectivity of 98 per cent of the telecom towers in the flood-hit areas of Kerala had been restored as part of the disaster mitigation activities. The rest would be restored once the water recedes (in Kuttanad area) and access to the sites is cleared. As many as 168 of 190 optical fibre cable cuts have been restored.


The use of Common Alert Protocol-Early Warning Platform (CAP-EWP) helped the government issue early warnings to the public, the meeting assessed.

The system developed by DoT and CDOT had helped the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) issue early warnings to the public through mobiles.

The CAP enabled disaster management professionals to disseminate messages to target the population in select areas quickly, without the intervention of telecom service providers.

This has been implemented using a platform developed by CDOT, interfacing with all telecom networks. This platform would be upgraded to include messages in the vernacular language as well.

DoT will lay out comprehensive Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) procedures, which can be implemented across India involving all stakeholders, state governments, and various agencies involved to ensure that the effects of the disaster are mitigated substantially.

All resources required for PPDR implementation will be made available through the collective efforts of DoT, the National Disaster Management Authority, the respective state SDMAs, other agencies and stakeholders.

A standardised common number has been implemented through which customers can get the location of missing family members and friends, for further tracing. This process will also be integrated with common distress numbers such as '112', for which follow-up action will be taken by DoT.


Of the 85,900 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in Kerala, 23,552 were affected. As on August 24, 22,217 had been restored. Also, 131 of the 153 telephone exchanges that were affected had been restored.

Restoration of services in low-lying Kuttanad has been given top priority. Service providers have been asked to ensure connectivity before the people leave the relief camps and head for their homes.

The second priority is to attend to damage caused to the towers and the optical fibre in other places. Service providers have been directed to restore connectivity in other areas by the month-end.

"The state government has done a lot of coordination and taken efforts to make sure that all telecom service providers could restore connectivity and start working,” Sundararajan said.

"It provided priority for diesel allocation, which was why towers were restored early. It also provided transport for telecom personnel, who were engaged in repair and restoration activities.

"This helped them reach the site well in time and restore connectivity. It was because of these that DoT could restore 98 per cent of connectivity quickly,” Sundararajan added.