More telecom companies on Thursday planned to extend a helping hand to Chennai flood victims with free mobile talktime and data.
"Realising the inconvenience faced by lakhs of customers in the region to recharge and connect with loved ones in such times of emergency, Idea has started crediting 10 local mobile minutes and 50 MB of 2G data in the prepaid accounts of 19.5 lakh customers in the five affected districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Thiruvallur and Pondicherry.
The credit process started on Wednesday, December 2," Idea Cellular said in a statement here on Thursday. "For postpaid customers whose bills are due, Idea is extending the payment dates and will ensure that services continue," it added.
Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL), which provides telecom services under the brand MTS, on Thursday announced that it will provide 1 GB of free data upload with three days of validity to all its customers in the Tamil Nadu circle.
The heaviest rains in Tamil Nadu in over a century and floods have left 269 people dead, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday, describing the situation as "alarming".
Chennai, he said, had received torrential rains, and the meteorological department had forecast more rains in the next two-three days. On Wednesday also a host of telecom companies - Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel, BSNL and Aircel - offered free talk time to the Chennai flood victims.
"We at COAI (Cellular Operators' Association of India) stand by the people of Tamil Nadu in the face of nature's extremities and wish to extend help by facilitating seamless communication and conversations of affected people with their families and well-wishers, and in terms of access of essential services in this hour of need," said Cellular Operators Association of India director-general Rajan S. Mathews.
"The mobile telephony industry has proposed and ensured that steps are taken by introducing some special concessions and services in terms of talk-time/data/tariff so that the people are not deprived of much needed communication facilities," he added.