The unprecedented rains and floods in Chennai disrupted normal life and restricted people’s movement from homes. The flooding caused severe damage to the telecom operators’ equipment and sites. The power outage, water logging and lack of diesel are a serious challenge on the path to recovery.
Finding people completely cut off from each other, Chennai circle operators Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone and Reliance Communication (RComm) found ways to help their subscribers get in touch with family and friends.
To trace missing persons in Chennai, you can call 1948 from your Vodafone or Airtel number in Chennai and Tamil Nadu and you will receive an SMS with their last called location at the earliest. Alternately, yours and the missing person’s name and Vodafone number can be messaged to @VodafoneIN.
While telecom company teams are working hard to restore normalcy, they are finding other ways to help. Vodafone and Airtel have sent out their staff to the main streets of Chennai to help subscribers. Vodafone had about 40 staff traversing the main streets enabling citizens to connect with friends and family by making calls and sending messages free of cost.
Both, Vodafone and Airtel opened some of their retail stores in prominent localities across Chennai offering this free calling and messaging service.
Airtel has set up public WiFi hotspots using VSAT, allowing the public to use data services (like instant and email messaging) and reach out to their friends and family. Two relief camps have been connected as a part of this initiative. Airtel will install four more VSAT terminals in strategic locations as directed by rescue teams / DoT for public access to WiFi.
List of connected relief camps
1) Loyola College Relief Center – 2 VSATs
2) Hotel Data Udupi at Panagal Maligai Junction (Near Saidapet Relief Center) – 1 VSAT.
Airtel has also set up free emergency calling booths at six relief camps allowing flood victims to make free calls and connect with their loved ones. Mobile phone charging stations have also been deployed enabling people to charge their phones.
As a small gesture, telecom companies announced measures to facilitate communication between their subscribers. Last week, Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Comm. offered their prepaid subscribers, free of cost credit of 10 minutes subscriber-subscriber calling with a validity of two days, free of cost credit of 50MB data with validity of two days. And post paid and fixed line (in the case of Airtel) customers whose bills are due to be paid immediately will get an extended time to make the payment.
Aircel offers free 10 minutes Aircel to Aircel calls across India to all its Chennai customers for three days. It is also offering auto credit of Rs30 to all its customers, along with 10 free all India SMS valid for 3 days and 100MB 2G/3G free data valid for 3 days.