Government to pump in Rs 5500 crore in northeast India to beef up connectivity in the region

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 24, 2017

GUWAHATI: What is expected to beef up connectivity in the insurgency dominated pockets and international border areas, Union Ministry of telecommunication will install around 6000 towers across Northeast India under the comprehensive telecom development plan for Northeast India. Secretary department of telecommunication (DOT), J.S Deepak spent two days in Northeast India and had meeting with CMD of BSNL, Bharat Broadband Network Ltd and Rail Tel.

Deepak told ET on Tuesday, “We have discussed state wise what were hurdles and what ways to overcome it were. 2017 as far as DOT is concerned is year of focus of Northeast India.”

The project will connect 8250 villages across the region in next two years. Deepak added, “We have sanctioned project for providing connectivity to 9000 villages which do not have connectivity. This has to be done in two parts; one part will be done by BSNL and other by private telecom service provide. BSNL will do this work in Arunachal Pradesh, Dima Hasao and KarbiAnglong in Assam. Tender of this project is in process and we will launch the same next month.”

He added that second project is to connect the district and state headquarters in optical fiber ring. This is in progress and by 2018 it will be completed. Fund is not a problem and this is clear vision of Prime minister, Narendra Modi. “In two years time from 2017 and 2018, we are investing close to Rs 5500 Crore in Northeast India.”

BSNL Assam has proposed to install over 1000 mobile towers. BSNL has submitted a proposal for setting up 2000 mobile towers, out of this at least 920 towers will come up in insurgency infested and disturbed areas of KarbiAnglong and Dima Hasao, Bodoland and pockets of Upper Assam.”

Around 108 mobile towers will be installed along Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Bangladesh. Most of these towers will be run via satellite.”

Deepak said that, “Northeastern states have assured that mobile towers will be allowed to installed in government buildings and radiation will be not in the way. Time taken for right of way approval and cost of it will be taken care of. There is delay in giving approval in right of way approval, states have assured they will look into it.”

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