New Delhi: The cabinet on Wednesday approved the home ministry’s proposal to set up 4,072 mobile towers to improve the telecom network in 96 districts of the 10 Naxal-affected states at a cost of Rs 7,330 crore. The network would be used by the security personnel deployed in areas affected by left wing extremism (LWE).
Project will also provide mobile services in unconnected villages and help improve economic activities. It will boost e-governance in backward and LWE-affected areas, said an official statement.
The Rs 4,080.78 crore phase I of the project for providing mobile services using 2G technology in LWE areas is in the completion stage. As on date 2,335 mobile sites have been set up.
For the second phase, the home ministry has identified 4,072 tower sites in consultation with states. Upgraded from 2G to 4G, the network will help meet communication needs of security personnel deployed in 10 states.
Of the 4,072 mobile towers, 1,054 will be set up in Jharkhand, 1,028 in Chhattisgarh, 483 in Odisha, 429 in Andhra Pradesh, 412 in Bihar, 207 in Bengal, 179 in Uttar Pradesh, 136 in Maharashtra, 118 in Telangana and 26 in Madhya Pradesh.
All the expenses are to be borne by the universal service obligation fund (USOF) of the telecommunication department.
The cabinet also approved installation of 2G and 4G mobile towers in uncovered parts of Meghalaya for Rs 3,911 crore, while raising total fund limit for telecom project in the northeast region to Rs 8,120.81 crore from Rs 5,336.18 crore, approved on September 10, 2014. It will also be funded by USOF.
The project has provision of 2G and 4G mobile coverage in identified uncovered areas of Meghalaya and seamless mobile coverage along the national highways in the northeastern state. The cabinet also approved the enhanced cost of the project for the northeast region for an amount of Rs 8,120.81 crore. The cabinet had already approved Rs 5,336.18 crore on September 10, 2014 for the project.
The objective of the USOF is to provide widespread and non-discriminatory access to quality information and communications technology (ICT) services at affordable prices to people in the rural and remote areas. Besides, the fund is aimed at providing effective and powerful linkage to the hinterland thereby mainstreaming the population of rural and remote parts of the country....