ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 36

Jaffna cut off, but who is responsible?

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

More than 8000 Sri Lanka Telecom internet and telephone lines in the Jaffna peninsula have gone dead from January 28 while the authorities disclaim responsibility for the stoppage.

An officer of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) media unit said the main duty of the TRC was linked to policy implementation and looking into consumer complaints regarding any transmission problems.

“Sri Lanka Telecom is a licensed telecommunication company under the TRC, so if there are any customer complaints we will definitely inquire from the parties responsible and urge them to continue investigations” he said.

Surprisingly, the TRC consumer complaints division has not yet received even a single complaint on the matter. According to a senior officer of Sri Lanka Telecom Jaffna branch, the switching off has been a defence decision.

“There are two telecommunication links to Jaffna - one from Anuradhapura via Kilinochchi and the other from Anuradhapura via Mannar. We have a huge number of data and landlines linked to the first one and the security forces have decided to block the link through Kilinochchi,” he said.

He said the switching off had been done from the base in Anuradhapura and the SLT is hoping to discuss this issue with the officials to restore the communication facilities.

Media Centre for National Security spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said the interruption was not a defence decision and SLT has been requested to resolve the matter soon.

“This blockage of telephone lines is definitely a transmission shortcoming and has no connection with any defence decision. SLT should look into it immediately” he said.

However a large number of telephone and internet users in Jaffna are inconvenienced by the stoppage.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.