While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi keeps accusing the Modi government of working for the benefits of Ambani and Adani, the Congress-ruled Punjab government has directed the employees of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited to use only Jio network as official connection for their phones. The PSPCL has directed its employees to send the details of their existing SIM card details so that those can be replaced with Jio SIMs. This comes just months after Jio mobile phone towers were destroyed by ‘farmer protesters’ while the state government remained a mute spectator.
In a letter issued on March 8 by a deputy chief engineer headquarters cum administration, North Jalandhar office of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) officials have been directed to send details of their SIM cards to the senior authorities with immediate effect. The directive was issued as the PSPCL’s contract with Vodafone has ended, and Reliance Jio grabbed the contract in recently released tenders.
The letter that was issued in Punjabi said, “Under your area, all Vodafone SIM users (PSPCL employees) should give the details of their SIM cards as per the requirement mentioned in the letter by 3 pm today, and if the details were not sent on time then the received information from other offices except yours would be sent to the higher authorities and the entire responsibility of it is of your office.”
Thousands of employees at PSPCL have been using Vodafone connection for years under the corporate connection scheme. As per reports, there was no severe connection problem reported by PSPCL. The employees also get a certain amount of data free under the corporate connection scheme.
A Venu Prasad, Chairman cum Managing Director PSPCL, in a statement to The Indian Express, said that new tenders were called in after the contract with Vodafone was over. Three companies that Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone, participated in the bidding. The state-owned telecom company BSNL did not participate in bidding.
Prasad further said that the rate of Reliance Jio was the lowest compared to Vodafone and Airtel. “Reliance had quoted Rs 2.3 crore against Rs 2.92 crore of Vodafone, so there was a difference of Rs 62 lakh between the rates of two, so we chose the lowest one,” he added. Jio is also providing additional services.
The backlash on social media
After the letter issued by PSPCL started making rounds on social media, the Punjab government faced a backlash. It has to be noted that a large number of farmers and their supporters have been boycotting Jio services in Punjab. There were several reports about damaging Jio towers in Punjab as a mark of protest. The protesters destroyed a total of over 1500 towers.
AAP Punjab did not leave the chance and claimed that the contract was given to Reliance because of the friendship between Captain Amarinder, CM Punjab and Mukesh Ambani.
@CsPunjab @CMOPb @PahulKaur on what basis pspcl is demanding its staff and workers to switch to jio it is clearly visible you are still supporting industrialists over common public is there any accountability if so take back this decision immediately— Beant singh (@KehalBeant) March 11, 2021
Another gem!!! Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is planning to give mobile SIMs from Reliance Jio to its employees. pic.twitter.com/FUPjXRN9Fc— Mohammad Ghazali (@ghazalimohammad) March 11, 2021
One Twitter user said, “At a time when Reliance is being opposed in Punjab due to the farmers’ protest, has issued an order to change the employees’ mobile from Vodafone to Jio.
ਜਦੋਂ ਹੁਣ ਪੰਜਾਬ ‘ਚ ਕਿਸਾਨੀ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਦੇ ਚਲਦਿਆਂ Reliance ਦਾ ਵਿਰੋਧ ਚੱਲ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ ਤਾਂ ਇਸੇ ਸਮੇਂ ਹੀ PSPCL ਵੱਲੋਂ ਮੁਲਾਜ਼ਮਾਂ ਦੇ ਮੋਬਾਈਲ ਵੋਡਾਫੋਨ ਤੋਂ Jio ‘ਚ ਬਦਲਾਉਣ ਦਾ ‘ਫੁਰਮਾਨ’।#FarmersProtest #FarmLaws #ModiHarassingProFarmers #ShameonPunjabGovt #boycottjio pic.twitter.com/7ZfYM63djE— Rivayat Hayer Gill (@_rivayat) March 10, 2021
Netizens took social media to outrage over the contract given to Jio by the state-owned power company. It has to be noted that after several towers were destroyed in Punjab and not strict action was taken by the Punjab government, Reliance Jio had moved to Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking orders for strict action against the protesters. While Punjab CM was directing Police to take action, Youth Congress leaders were provoking protesters to destroy towers.