KARACHI - Pakistan Telecommunication Company limited (PTCL) is left with just 1400 linemen in Karachi which has created severe problems for the citizens to have their landlines functional. It was revealed that PTCL had 4500 linemen in Karachi in 2007 but now most of them have left the company after opting for Volunteer Separation Scheme (VSS). It is ironic that PTCL has not filled that huge gap and is not intending to recruit them despite the fact that PTCL earns billions of rupees, being the single largest communication company of the country. PTCL says that it has achieved a profit after tax of Rs 9.151 billion in financial year 2008-09 against a loss of Rs 2.82 billion in the previous year. Earning per share (EPS) came to Rs 1.79 compared to loss per share (LPS) of Rs 0.55 for FY08. The administration could easily reappoint those opted for VSS on contract basis which might have solved the issues. Over 23,000 landline phones are dead currently while the fault ratio has been increased up to 33pc on account of sheer shortage of linemen and cable-jointers. Moreover, these linemen are not provided with vehicles to carry out their duties. Linemen alleged that the company has provided motorbikes to other than field staff. Cable jointers are also deprived of promotion policy and allowances, while those linemen who have given motorcycles are not provided with sufficient petrol; moreover they are not provided with V-fone which hampers the pace of their work. To deal with such scarcity of linemen PTCL went for new fibre optic connections that have replaced the old simple copper wire connections, but as these fibre optic cables have modernised cabinets which need some electricity source to connect to exchange simply failed because of loadshedding, for telephone line gets dead due electricity break out. It is said that these cabinets are provided with a special pair of imported batteries which are used to backup in case electricity failure, and keeps the connection alive. According to PTCL these batteries provided for backup are of special kind which cost Rs 1 lac per pair and have a backup time of 6 to 7 hours. New PTCL broadband customers are also suffering from such cabinets as these batteries do not sustain the reconnect load when DSL link drops. According to a report, PTCL has lost more than 0.3 million customers due to its poor services and tough competition since 2007.