More than 55,000 Indian villages have no mobile coverage – Minister

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Even after 20 years of launch of mobile services in the country, around 55,669 villages do not have mobile coverage till now.

“It is estimated that there are 55,669 villages in the country that do not have mobile coverage,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Asked if even after 20 years of launching the mobile services in the country, there are around 56,000 villages where mobile telephone service has not reached so far, the Minister said “Yes”.

Prasad said mobile service to uncovered villages in the country are likely to be provided in a phased manner over a period of five years with funding from universal service obligation fund (USOF).

“Detailed project report consisting of technical framework and cost estimates for Himalayan states (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand) is under preparation,” he said. (Press Report)

Earth Quake in Bihar, W.Bengal and UP

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The 7.9 earth quake with its epicentre near Kathmandu has resulted in death of more than 800 in Nepal. The districts in W.Bengal, Bihar and U.P., which are near the border had also been affected. Many people are reported dead in these districts, especially in Bihar. Since these are mainly interior villages, full information is not available.

I contacted Circle Secretaries Coms. Animesh Mitra (W.B.), B.P.Singh (Bihar) and R.K.Mishra (UP) and inquired about the causalities and conveyed our sympathy and sorrow in the loss of lives.

Nepal Earth Quake – Air Force, BSNL, Air India to rescue

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Whenever there is any natural calamity, it is the government and PSUs which come to the rescue immediately. It has been in the past and it is in the present also.

In view of the earth quake, BSNL has declared that only local call charges will be levied to calls to Nepal, which is international. Air India has decided to fly additional flights to help rescue operations. Indian Air Force is in the front of the rescue operations.

We support these appropriate decisions. Human life is most valuable.

60th Anniversary of Bandung Conference remembered

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Bandung (Indonesia), Apr 24 :The distance of 100 meters may not be that long but when over 90 world leaders including 22 Heads of State march in tandem to relive a 60-year old historical conference espousing human rights, sovereignty and equality, the occasion becomes momentous.

Delegates from nearly 90 countries today marched from 131-year old Hotel Savoy here to another historical location “Gedung Merdeka”, which had hosted the 1955 Bandung Conference in which 25 countries including India, under the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru participated.

The purpose was to commemorate 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference and reiterate its values.

Gedung Merdeka (building of Independence) which has now been converted into a museum has laid out same chairs of dignitaries today which were laid out 60 years ago.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe were among the some leaders walking on the lane dotted with Dutch heritage buildings. (PTI)

 

Massive Earth-quake in Nepal, North India – loss of hundreds of lives.

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The massive earthquake with its epicentre at Phokad in Nepal, today morning, has devastated the city of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal and hundreds of lives have been lost. In U.P. and Bihar, border states in India, also many lives have been lost. In Kathmandu, many buildings including heritage buildings had collapsed. Full details are still not available. In Delhi also, there was a mild tremour.

I contacted Com. Tankalal Shrestha, former President of Telecom Union, TEAN and conveyed our grief and shared sorrow. Other comrades could not be contacted since the mobile connections were beyond reach. 

Indian Government and the people have to fully support and provide all help to our neighbor country  with out any delay. it is reported that the government has already started rescue and help operations. All help should be provided. 

We share the great tragedy of the people of Nepal.

No Disinvestment of BSNL, Air India – MoS Finance

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 Minister of State of Finance, Shri Jayant Sinha informed Lok Sabha on 24th April 2015 that there will be no disinvestment of BSNL and Air India at present. He also stated that the employees in both PSUs are strongly opposing disinvestment.

Our opposition against disinvestment is noted by the government. Any move to disinvest BSNL will be against the assurances given by the government to the Joint Forum of BSNL Unions. But however, the workers have to be ready for strong struggle, if any move starts for disinvestment.

Parliament passes Transgender Bill – A bill for a good cause.

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The passing of the “Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014″ by the Parliament is a good step for the rights of the transgenders. It was over due. The fact that the bill moved by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva was adopted unanimously gives credit to the Parliament.

It is also reported that the PSU Banks are adding column for the third gender in their applications forms etc.

Cabinet decision for closure of HMT Watch Units.

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The Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises Ministry, which is the administrative ministry for the central PSUs, may move a Cabinet Note shortly for winding up of the loss making HMT watch units, which are HMT watches, HMT bearings and HMT Chinar watches. These are in loss for the last few years, mainly due to the non-support of the government following neo-liberal policies, which favour private companies. HMT Watches was an iconic company with a very high market share in the sector manufacturing excellent accurate watches.

The other loss making companies which are going to be wound up are: Hindustan Cables, Tungabhadra Steel and Hindustan Photo Films.

The government is on a plan to wind up many PSUs, on the plea of loss.

Parliamentary Committee on MTNL

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As per reports in the media, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information technology has reported that MTNL, the telecom PSU providing services in Mumbai and Delhi, is not in a position to upgrade its network due to severe financial problems. It could only provide 1,49,973 landline/WLL/broadband connections against a target of 5 lakhs due to paucity of funds.

However MTNL has now been able to secure a loan of Rs. 1,200 crore from IDBI this year for upgrading of networks.

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