Visakhapatnam: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on lashed out at telecom service providers for lack of connectivity even a couple of days after Cyclone Hudhud devastated the coast, and accused them of being driven only by profit motive.
At a high-level meeting here with top executives of telecom service providers, Naidu lost his cool and, mincing no words, demanded a "straight answer" from them for their "non-performance".
"...that means you are totally commercial... you are exploiting the government... public," the visibly angry Chief Minister blasted the companies, indicating in no uncertain terms that the service providers let him down in rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
"My efficiency (in disaster relief works) has gone down by 50 per cent because of the communication gap," Naidu said, adding that he is unable to talk to people on the ground due to lack of connectivity.
Even during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit on Tuesday, phones were not working.
A bitter Chief Minister said he had hoped to oversee and monitor disaster relief works with phone services, but his expectations were belied.
While five horse power diesel generator sets are available even in villages, telecom service providers are not using diesel to run mobile towers to save money, Naidu said.
"They don't want to use diesel at all," he said.
The meeting with companies regarding restoration of telecom lines battered by Hudhud was attended among others by Bharti Group Chairman Sunil Mittal, who said mobile services would be restored to near normal by evening of October 18.
Naidu asked telecom service providers to come up with plans that charge low rates from customers in the cyclone-hit districts, and also to ensure that they set up mobile charging points so that customers can charge their cellphones.
He asked the companies to ensure that officials (engaged in disaster relief works) are provided 3G services so that relief and restoration works take place quickly and efficiently through communication.