Mobile Telcos Come Forward to Help Chennai


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much – Helen Keller

The mentioned quote easily explains that unity can be described in such brevity. Well, a lot of people aspire to do so much for the world. However, if we all join hands together in a unified effort, the results can always be better. The force of nature has always reminded the human race about its power. The Chennai rains have again disrupted the normalcy of life. However, the top country telecom providers are coming to aid with several initiatives.

It’s been all over the news since more than a couple of weeks. The heavy rains have caused floods and the situation has left thousands in a lurch. With the majority of the communication and interaction platforms disrupted, the top telcos of the country have decided to jump into action. The Facebook safety check sprang into action this week. The Army and the Navy have already started the operations in the city. Several mobile service providers like Airtel, BSNL, Reliance Communications and Vodafone have also come forward to help the people. Airtel subscribers in Chennai will be provided with an approved talk time up to Rs. 30. The company is also providing credit of 10 minutes for Airtel-to-Airtel calls for prepaid customers. “The uninterrupted rains have also resulted in excessive water logging and disruption of essential services in Chennai, thus causing power failures and impacting our services in some regions. We at Airtel are relentlessly working with the local authorities to enable smooth mobile communication for Airtel customers across the city,” said the company in a press statement. Vodafone has also started an initiative to help the ones stranded in the city. In a released statement to NDTV, the company said, “The incessant rains, unprecedented floods and power outages in Chennai have resulted in disruption of some of our services. While voice services were intermittent, data services were impacted. A significant proportion of these have now been restored in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The situation in Chennai remains challenging, the teams on the ground are working ceaselessly with local authorities to address it on a war footing. We will continue to post updates periodically.”

Mobile services are the backbone of our daily lives. And, with a city stranded and completely battered due to heavy rains, it must be a reprieve to witness the telcos get into action. The state-run companies have also followed the suit to come forward to aid the ones in need. BSNL is allowing free local and STD calls to other BSNL phone users, along with 100 MB data for seven days to the prepaid users. Twitter has been a source of real-time information and connection during the utmost chaos. The data provided by BSNL can be used to connect via the Social Media platforms. “We have made calls free for pre-paid users in Chennai so that they don’t have a barrier in their mind of recharging their account in this distress situation. The priority is to enable them to stay connected in such situation,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said. On a similar note, Reliance Communications is also offering 10 minutes free calling across the whole country and 50MB of free data. It is not just the telecom companies that have put their feet forward to help. Medical giants Practo has devised a spreadsheet with the phone numbers of verified doctors and hospitals available for help. Zomato has launched an initiative to provide meals for the flood victims. The Zomatians are offering to buy one meal from their side for every meal purchased on their website. Paytm is also providing free mobile recharge to the Chennai residents & OYO Rooms is looking after the accommodation needs. Uber is ensuring that as many as cabs are available for ferrying/rescuing people who are stranded in the water-logged city. It is also offering free rides in Chennai today and tomorrow. The need of the hour is to continue this unity as the MET department has predicted that the heavy rains will continue for more 3-4 days. The ones looking to contact their relative and friends can access Twitter accounts like @ChennaiConnect, @ChennaiWeather, @incrisisrelief, @sandygrains, @VolunteersOrg and @MaliniP to get almost real-time updates on the current situation in Chennai. Other users with any kind of information or those in need of help are tweeting using the hashtag – #ChennaiRains or #ChennaiRainsHelp.


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“Thinking Aloud” reflects the emerging trends and varied outlook of the rapidly evolving internet and communication sector. An IAMAI publication, this is a part of the market education initiative of the association.

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