While the Union Government is urging for intelligence sharing among the Maoist-affected States, call drop and poor mobile connectivity has come as a major issue and posing as a stumbling block in this regard.
When top cops of the neighbouring States are meeting for intelligence sharing, everybody agrees that poor mobile connectivity is posing a serious problem in collection of real time intelligence.
When mobile phones are not working properly and call drop is a major issue, the BSNL not using latest technology for setting mobile towers is defeating the purpose in getting real time information from the ground zero, admit officials.
Looking at the dismal scenario, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have raised the issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
As informed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), at least 2,335 mobile towers have been installed in 10 LWE States under Phase-I of the scheme and up-gradation of the satellite bandwidth at all the Phase-I towers up to 2 Mbps which are on VSAT has been approved.
The Union Government has approved installation of mobile towers at 4,072 locations in Phase-II involving an expenditure of Rs 7,330 crore.
However, 2G facility is not at all sufficient for connectivity as it is experienced in Malkangiri and Koraput, which are worst affected Maoist districts
Odisha , which has 483 mobile towers in the Maoist zone, has stated that there is a serious problem of bandwidth in the State. The mobile connectivity in most of the LWE affected areas is inadequate. So the State Government has further requested for upgradation of towers to 4G.
While in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, mobile towers have been upgraded with 4G facility, it is not in case of Odisha.
Accordingly, the State Government has urged the Union Government that it should be done for Odisha also as it is done in the State of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
The State Government has requested that the mobile towers installed in phase-I may be upgraded. The BSNL should use the latest technology for phase-II towers, said a senior official in the Department of Home.
However, DoT officials stated that as regards provision of 4G in LWE areas and mobile coverage in rural areas, a massive project to cover all gram panchayats under Bharat Net Project has been planned.
In order to make the plan a success at the earliest, all State Governments have been requested to put a system in place which would facilitate Right of Way (RoW) permission in a time bound manner.
However, the ambitious programme is moving at a snail’s pace. Till date Bharat Net has covered only 10,484 km optical fiber connecting 3,739 GPs and service ready in 3,303 GPs.
In Odisha, the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) is implementing Bharat Net Phase I and it is going very slow over the implementation of the project.
The State Government has time and again raised the issue of slowdown in implementation of Bharat Net Phase-I in Odisha. And the PGCIL has always given new timeline for completion of the project, said sources.
Under the backdrop, unless the mobile towers are not empowered with 4G, real time intelligence gathering will be very difficult, admit officials. – Daily Pioneer