Bangladesh restores mobile networks along its borders with India

DHAKA Bangladesh It has reversed its decision to close along the borders of more than 4,000 km of the country with India, two days after requesting to block services for security reasons, according to media reports on Wednesday.

On Sunday (BTRC) it ordered the closure of around 2,000 base stations of transceivers, affecting about 1 crore users in 32 districts that share the border with India and Myanmar .

The government directive for telecom operators came days after the Parliament of India passed the controversial Citizens Amendment Act (CAA), which caused much concern in Dhaka that it could generate an influx of migrants from India .

The reports gave no reason to reverse the government's decision on Sunday.

The BTRC, in its order to telecommunications service providers, Teletalk, Robi and Banglalink, said that network coverage within a one kilometer band along border areas with India should be suspended until further notice by the good of the security of the country in the current circumstances.

Jahurul Haque, president of BTRC confirmed the latest decision to reverse the restrictions, reported.

According to The Daily Star, authorities sent an email to all mobile operators early today, asking them to restore networks.

“Please reinstate operations of the BTSs (Base Trans-Receiver Stations) near the Bangladesh -India boarder sites immediately,” the email, by Md Sohel Rana, deputy director of BTRC's spectrum management division, said.

Mobile operators also confirmed that they have begun to increase their network again, but it will take approximately one day to completely restore connections, as some of the towers are in very remote areas, according to the report.

According to the BTRC directive, we have already begun to reactivate the BTS located along the border areas. The reactivation process will take a while to complete since many BTSs are involved here, said Shahed Alam, corporate director and regulatory officer at Robi. Axiata Ltd, told The Daily Star.

Earlier, Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar told The Daily Star that networks were blocked since state security is the government's first priority.

He clarified that the decision was not made by his ministry and they simply carried it forward.

The report quoted him as saying that the decision was taken after a consensus of three to four ministries, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was leading the efforts.

Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen has said that Bangladesh has requested New Delhi to provide a list of Bangladesh and nationals living illegally in India, if any, to be repatriated.

He had also canceled his visit to India as of December 12, hours before arriving in New Delhi.

According to diplomatic sources in New Delhi, Momen and Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal canceled their visits to India because of the situation resulting from the approval of the controversial citizenship bill in Parliament.