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Centre must improve tele-density in Odisha, BJD

Noting that the launching of 5G services in Odisha should not be reduced to a publicity stunt, the BJD said the Centre must work on improving tele-density in the state, which is lower than the national average.

Union IT and Communication Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and his cabinet colleague Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday launched 5G services of Jio and Airtel in Odisha.

Vaishnaw had committed to launch 5G services in the state before January 26.

Within hours of the launch, BJD spokesperson Amar Patnaik held a press conference and said, “Launching of 5G services should not be reduced to a publicity stunt. The Centre must improve tele-density in the state, which at 75 per cent is lower than the national average of 85 per cent. The tele-density in rural Odisha is much lower at 62 per cent.” The BJD MP claimed that as many as 6,278 villages in Odisha remain unconnected by both mobile and internet services.

“While we welcome the launch of 5G services in Odisha, at the same time, we also demand improvement of telecom infrastructure in the state,” he said.

“The state requires 2,500 more mobile towers, but the Centre has sanctioned only 500. So, we need 2,000 more mobile towers to fully cover the state,” Patnaik said.

As per the latest TRAI report, the overall tele-density of Odisha at 75.23 per cent is among the bottom five states. Even Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir have higher tele-density at 77.98 per cent and 88.18 per cent respectively, he said.

“When people are denied basic mobile and internet services, people have to climb hills, rooftops and trees for network, talking of 4G or 5G services is only tall talk,” the BJD leader said.

Responding to his allegations, Vaishnaw said, “He should do his homework as the Centre has sanctioned Rs 5,600 crore for improving the telecom sector of Odisha.” PTI

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