Development: Of a village that has gone completely mobile

The 300-line telephone exchange in Sambikhel has been dead for three years now.


Manzoor Ali December 05, 2011

PESHAWAR: Sambikhel, a small village on the outskirts of Peshawar, does not care about its ailing telephone exchange anymore. 

The exchange was set up in 2005 and had a capacity of 300 lines, all of which were subscribed to, according to Noor Ghulam, a local elder. However the service provider did not employ any operators or guards for the facility.

Soon the lines began to die one by one.

The villagers tried approaching government and company officials to no avail.

When the facility did get guards three years later, almost all lines were dead.

To get their lines functional, the locals had to bring operators locals from Mattani on their own expense. Adding insult to injury, the telecom company took away the exchange’s equipment thus leaving it as an empty enclosure.

A village that doesn’t care anymore

However, ever since a mobile service provider set up shop in the area, the villagers stopped caring about their almost-dead telephone exchange. “We are no longer concerned with whatever they do to the exchange in the village,” said Noor Kamal, a villager.

The facility was built at an estimated cost of over Rs10 million, according to village elder Abdullah Mir. Roughly 12 km of fibre optic cable was laid down in the village, which was then used to extract copper wires for local use, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2011.

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