New Delhi: Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Electronics and IT, and Communications, said that the Centre has been taking measures on priority to provide mobile connectivity in the far flung, difficult, border areas of strategic importance, so as to ensure better quality of life to the people as well as to those who are working in these areas. He told the media on Monday that a tender for 354 uncovered villages in the strategic, remote and border areas of the country has been finalised and is under implementation in 144 villages of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and the remaining villages in the states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and other priority areas of Gujarat.
Even though he didn't mention who the tender has been awarded to, however, the specifics of the tender seem to be the same as that awarded to Reliance Jio, on which PSU Watch carried a report in June. Prasad was speaking to the media on Monday after the inauguration of a submarine Optical Fiber Cable of length of 2,300 kms between Chennai and Andaman Nicobar at a cost of Rs 1,224 crore. The Optical Fiber Cable was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Elaborating on the various projects being implemented by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Prasad said that the projects will provide connectivity in remote and difficult areas. The 354 villages have been strategically chosen to cover border area connectivity on mobile. After commissioning of these villages, there will be no uncovered villages in UTs of J&K, Ladakh for mobile connectivity. Satellite-based DSPTs (Digital Satellite Phone Terminal) are also being provided at 1,347 sites for Army, BRO, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB etc. Out of these, 183 sites are already commissioned and the remaining are in the process of getting commissioned.
The Union Minister further said that DoT is also working on providing mobile connectivity in villages of 24 aspirational districts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The remaining 44 aspirational districts covering 7,287 villages in Chhatisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh will also be covered for which the government approval is under submission.
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