Southern Army Commander Lt Gen SK Saini has sanctioned over 20 cell-onwheels (COW) mobile cellular sites to improve mobile network in military areas under the Pune Cantonment Board(PCB)’s jurisdiction.
The towers will be set up on A-1 defence land and will be managed by the defence estates office (DEO) of Pune zone.
Currently, local residents and serving army officers face issues arising from poor mobile network in the military area. “Once installed, the new mobile towers will address a long-pending issue,” a senior army officer told TOI.
The local military authority Dakshin Maharashtra and Goa Sub Area (DMGSA) had closed about 21 COW towers due to disputes between telecom service providers and defence authorities over the pending lease amount of Rs5 crore, army sources said.
“We have had discussions on this issue with the service providers in the past. The matter is still pending but they have agreed to install their towers in our area. We are dealing with these matters separately,” said another army officer.
To resolve this matter, PCB has also sent its proposal regarding mobile tower installation to the Principal Control of Defence Estate, Southern Command. “Once we get statutory approval, the telecom companies will install three static and three COWs in the civil area. These towers will meet the requirement of the civil population in the coming weeks,” said PCB chief executive officer Amit Kumar.
A section of elected board members is of the views that the board needs to have a concrete policy on mobile towers. “Why should the civil population suffer due to poor mobile network? The board must give importance to static towers so that the network will be improved for a long period,” said a PCB member.
Army officers posted at the Southern Command Headquarters, defence establishments, Military Hospitals and officials working at the PCB are also dealing with issues arising out of poor connectivity. “Poor internet and mobile network has made our job difficult. On many occasions, we step out from our office but even then we do not get a good signal,” said a PCB official.―Times of India