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Once underground, Namma Metro user is not reachable

Bengaluru: Every day, around 1.8 lakh commuters go off the grid for about 10 minutes as their mobile phone connectivity is cut when the Metro snakes its way through the underground tunnels or while they are waiting at the underground stations along the Purple Line. Considering the pace at which work to install mobile phone network towers is progressing, it might be another few months before commuters will be able to access data on their phones or make calls.

Last April, services on the Purple line began amidst much fanfare. As the number of people using the Metro increased, the demand for mobile phone connectivity also shot up. “Whenever I am on a call during my commute, I have to explain to the other person that I am entering the underground section and that I will be unreachable for 10 minutes. This is especially problematic as I am usually connected to conference calls during my commute to office,” said Yusuf Raza, who travels from Vijayanagar to Swami Vivekananda Road (SV Road) station everyday.

For Namma Metro staff members deployed at these stations, it means staying without their mobile phones for the duration of their shift.

Officials say that the challenge lies in providing enough power blocks to enable contractors to work on installing cables through the tunnels. Power blocks are the time during which electricity supply to the third rail is cut as a safety precaution. “We have not been able to provide power blocks to ensure the work is completed soon. It will take another few months before it can be completed,” a senior official said.

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