People in the North-eastern region of India have a reason to rejoice as the centre has finally approved a comprehensive strategy which was pending before, to implement BharatNet for the NER (North-eastern Regions). Under this strategy, the people of NER, specifically the six states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura will benefit a lot through the broadband connectivity via satellite. The strategy which has been approved by the government will cover 4989 Gram Panchayats in the above six states. Also, it is noteworthy that the total cost incurred for the satellite connectivity of these GPs will be Rs 733 crores. This plan is expected to come to fruition by December 2018.
This news surfaces after a meeting was held in Arunachal Pradesh where the presence of Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha was also noticed. The meeting involved discussion about the implementation of BharatNet and other major telecom projects in the NER. This news is reported by Arunachal Times.
This meeting which consisted of discussions about many pointers related to telecom sector also talked about the execution of the plan of BharatNet and revealed that 6994 towers have been planned to be set up to provide connectivity to 8621 villages in proximity to the national highways, this development of the mobile towers network will be done at the cost of Rs 5336 crore.
Also, BSNL and USO Fund have come together to sign a MoU to set up 2817 mobile towers in Arunachal Pradesh and in two districts of Assam. Apart from this new initiation of mobile network expansion by BSNL, Bharti Airtel has already started on their plan of setting up 2004 mobile towers in the same region since December 2017, the completion of this project by Airtel is expected to be over in 18 months.
Manoj Sinha also requested Arunachal Pradesh government to come in full support of this telecom expansion in the region. He also assured them that NER was in the top priority of the Centre regarding this issue. He went on saying about the same, giving a reason “as is evident from these projects with a total outlay of more than Rs 10,500 crore.”
Apart from support, the Union minister also asked Arunachal Pradesh for their support in RoW facilitation and suitable sites for setting up the towers. Chief Minister, Pema Khandu who was also present in the meeting said “Despite connectivity bottlenecks and numerous challenges the state continues to face, it has aggressively proved itself by successfully launching significant IT and e-governance projects.” He also added “Many projects of importance, which varies from education to health, agriculture to cabinet, capacity building to connectivity, are in the pipeline.”
The CM also assured people that the state would work closely with telecom department to fasten the development of network and other related services in the NER. The event also witnessed many launches which were especially targeted for NE regions like the launch of satellite connectivity to GPs under BharatNet and an announcement of vision document of Ashtamangal Phase-II. Satellite phones were also handed over by Union Minister Manoj Sinha to the CM for monitoring and supervising activities during natural calamities.