It is stated by Shri Anupam Shrivastava, CMD BSNL, that all the projected 2199 mobile towers in the naxalite areas have been installed, before the target period of December 2016. This is a great achievement of the management and the workers of BSNL. Hearty Congratulations to all involved! It is to be noted here that the private companies are shying away from erecting mobile towers and giving service in the naxalite and other troubled areas. They are only interested in profit. It is only BSNL, the telecom PSU, which enters these domains and provide service.
The public outrage over the call-drops and compulsion on the government had its results. It is reported that 22,279 towers have been added all over India by the telecom companies. In Delhi alone, more than 2,000 towers have been erected. The results are also forth coming. The call drops have been reduced to a certain extent.
The decision of the TRAI to impose penalty for call-drops has been effective.
Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has stated the government has taken a policy decision to allow mobile towers to be erected on government buildings, including Post Offices to reduce call drops. Rent can be collected from the telecom operators for the same, he said.
It is a case of the mighty influence of the private telecom companies. The government has now decided that mobile towers can be erected on the government buildings to ensure connectivity. There are many reports on the radiation of the mobile towers and in many places, agitations are going on. BSNL has put warning boards wherever it has constructed mobile towers near its offices.
Connectivity is important and at the same time, the radiation issue is also to be tackled. What is the government plan is not known. It should be transparent.
The government is in a dilemma. Whether to allow mobile towers in hospitals or not?
It is a regular complaint that in most of the hospitals, the mobile connectivity is very low or nil, since the mobile towers are not installed near hospitals due to the risk of radiation to the patients. Now, Prime Minister’s office has asked the DOT, why the connectivity is not in the hospital premises and asked them to ensure connectivity.
This is a serious question. Whether to install mobile towers near hospitals or not. The decision is to be taken after fully considering the full implications.
Almost all the mobile franchisees and shops were closed in Kashmir, especially in Spore area, due to the threat of extremists who have warned against selling of mobiles as also functioning of the mobile towers. Mobile towers and franchisees were attacked in the recent days.
The anger against the mobile sales and towers by the extremists seems because that they are being traced and attacked by the military/police on the basis of the information through the mobile towers etc.
BSNL franchisee shops also have been closed, although they were the latest to do so.
Last year, immediately after the naxalite attack and brutal murder of 27 Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh in June 2013, the Central Government had announced that 2,199 towers (BTS) will be erected in the naxalite areas of 9 states viz. M.P., Chhattisgarh, A.P.,Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, W.Bengal, Odisha and U.P. It was also stated that BSNL will be entrusted with the task and the project will be completed within one year.
But so far only 363 towers have been erected by BSNL though one year is going to be completed by June 2014.
The matter was discussed by the Forum both with the Secretary, DOT and also with the CMD BSNL. The information received is that the amount approved by the DOT on the proposal submitted by BSNL is Rs.789 less and hence the delay. Now there is a chance for increasing the amount also due to increase in cost of materials.
Now again, there was a brutal attack by the naxalites in which 15 persons including Policemen have been killed.
The Government, DOT and BSNL should understand that the project is intended to save the lives of the people and requires most immediate attention. They should discuss immediately and find out a solution to this problem.
It is reported that the Telecom Commission will meet and discuss this issue by the month end. Why so much delay when the election is already announced and the candidates and parties will have to go interior places for campaign. The earlier the better.
As we have pointed out a few days back, the Cabinet has expeditiously cleared the Communication Ministry proposal to erect 2199 mobile towers in the naxal affected areas in the nine states of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
The project will be entrusted to BSNL for implementation within one year. An amount of Rs. 3,046.12 crore will be allotted for this project from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
BSNL should take this project as a challenge and ensure that it is completed within the stipulated period. BSNL has to show to the country that it and not the private telcos are there to defend the country, when it is in difficulty or when it is facing security risks.
The central government has cleared the long pending proposal of erecting 2199 towers in the naxal affected areas in A.P., Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, M.P.,Odisha, UP and W.Bengal in order to cover the so far not-covered areas by mobile connections. The proposal has been pending for some years. The recent drastic attack by the naxalites and killing of senior leaders of Congress in Chattisgarh have woken up the sleeping ministry which took the decision now.
The 3,046.12 crore project will be funded from USOF and no tender need be floated. BSNL will be entrusted with the work. Of course, the government very well know that no private telco will take up this dangerous task in the naxalite areas.
BSNL is dedicated to the nation and it will take up the responsibility. The Government should remember that it is only BSNL which it can depend upon any emergency and security of the nation and the people.