The State Government on Monday urged the Ministry of Telecommunications to direct telecom operators to set up more towers in rural areas for improved communication.
Chief Secretary A P Padhi made this request to the Central team led by Union Power Secretary A K Bhalla which reviewed restoration of electricity supply and telecommunication services in cyclone Fani-affected districts at a high level meeting here.
Padhi assured that land available on the campuses of panchayat offices will be provided for installation of telecom towers. Similarly, Government office buildings in rural areas could be used for roof-top towers. However, the same installations should be used by all telecom service providers.
Praising the efforts of Odisha Government for speedy restoration of electricity supply and telecom services, the two vital sectors critical for normal functioning of banks, Bhalla said this was possible due to better coordination between the State and Central agencies engaged in reconstruction works. He, however, said a little more time is required to bring normalcy in severely-battered Puri district.
“Telecommunication services have been fully restored in all the districts barring Puri, Khurda and Cuttack. Now, we are focussing on Puri where the damage is more extensive. Nearly 80 percent restoration works have been completed in Khurda, Cuttack and part of Jagatsinghpur districts. In Puri, we will see that the network become normal and fully functional as early as possible,” said Additional Secretary, Department of Telecommunications Anshu Prakash after the meeting.
He said free intra-circle roaming facility and SMS services permitted after the cyclone enabled large number of affected people to communicate with their near and dears ones during the time of crisis. More than two crore SMSes have been sent and 10 lakh calls made using the roaming facility.
Asserting absolute normalcy in telecom services soon, Prakash said the restoration of landline exchanges have been expedited. Barring some in Khurda and Puri, all landline exchanges have been restored.
Additional Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy told the Central team that 56 percent mobile towers in Khurda, 18 percent in Puri and 73 percent in Cuttack district have been made operational.
All master switching centres have been made operational with electricity power supply except Vodaphone, Naharkanta which will be powered once Main Grid Feeder is restored. He said three Airtel Cell on Wheels (CoW) are working at Badadanda, Collectorate and Swargadwar, Puri while one Jio CoW with 4G service is functioning near Puri Collectorate. The meeting was informed that banking services are slowly becoming normal in Puri while there has been significant improvement in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.―New Indian Express