Telecoms extend free mobile services to Chennai flood victims

Aerial view of rain hit area in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on December 03, 2015.
More telecom network operators — Idea Cellular and MTS — on Thursday have decided to offer free mobile services to Chennai flood victims.

To trace missing persons in Chennai, Vodafone has launched a helpline – call 1948 from your Vodafone number in Chennai and Tamil Nadu and you will receive an SMS within 2 hours with their last called location. You can message your and the missing person’s name and Vodafone number to @VodafoneIN.

Vodafone also opened 7 retail stores in Chennai today for citizens to make calls and send messages free of cost. Water and light refreshments were also made available at these stores onTTK Road, Anna Nagar, Kilpauk, Royapuram, Perumbur, Avadi, Mogappair.

Realising the inconvenience faced by lakhs of customers in the region to recharge and connect with loved ones in such times of emergency, Idea Cellular 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,” said Idea Cellular in a statement on Thursday. “For postpaid customers whose bills are due, Idea is extending the payment dates and will ensure that services continue.”

MTS India (Sistema Shyam TeleServices) 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 operators such as 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.