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Airtel, Reliance Jio booked for damaging road in Kishtwar

JAMMU

An FIR has been registered against major telecom players Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio for reportedly carrying out unauthorised digging and damaging 62 km road in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Six persons have been arrested in this connection, the police said today.

A criminal case was registered against the management of Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio telecom companies for damaging 62 kilometers of road from Chatroo to Sinthan Top by carrying out unauthorised digging for laying of optical fibre, a senior police officer said.

The police took a strong note of the damages caused following a complaint of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL).

Reacting to the charges, a spokesperson of Airtel said the telecom player has not carried out any new activity of cabling, except minor repair work during landslides in the road stretch.

“It is stated on record that in last three and half years, no new activity has been undertaken, except minor repair works due to landslide or fibre cut owing to other reasons,” the spokesperson said.

The FIR has been registered under Section 431 (Mischief by injury to public road, bridge, river or channel), Section 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others), Section 427 (Mischief causing damage to an amount of over fifty rupees) of RPC as well as Section 3 of Prevention of Damages to Public Property Act.

According to the police, the management of these companies without any permission and in sheer violation of guidelines, destroyed the NH-244 road in such a way that it appears as a water canal instead of a road.

“At many places, the people are using the parts of this damaged road for water channelisation,” the police said.

The police added that the road from Batote to Sinthan is used as an alternative route for movement of forces to strife-torn Valley during fair weather.

We are also looking into the aspects of conspiracy to damage this route used for emergency movements, they said.

SSP Kishtwar Abrar Chowdhary added that a thorough investigation was on in the matter.

The Airtel added that it has written to the SSP Kishtwar and submitted a no objection certificate (NOC).

“The process of laying fibre was last carried out in the year 2014 and an NOC was issued to Bharti Airtel on April 2, 2015 by officer commanding the national highway,” the spokesman said.

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