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TN BharatNet tender re-jigged in October 2020

The Centre has not cancelled the implementation of the ₹1,950-crore BharatNet project in Tamil Nadu but the tender was re-floated in October 2020, clarified Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Communications, Education and Electronics and IT in the Rajya Sabha today.

Some complaints about restrictive and discriminatory clauses in the tender floated previously in December 2019 by TANFINET, the State implementing agency, were received. The RFP/tender was re-floated by the implementing agency in October 2020, he said.

The minister was responding to queries raised in the Rajya Sabha by DMK MP P Wilson on the cancellation of ₹1,950-crore tender of BharatNet project in Tamil Nadu meant for Grama Panchayats (GP).

The State government signed an MoU with Universal Service Obligation Fund and Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL) in 2017, for implementing the BharatNet project. As the MoU was signed very late, GPs could not be taken up in BharatNet phase-I. Therefore, all GPs are being implemented by the State government under BharatNet Phase-II of the project, he said, in his reply.

It was considered after deliberations in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Ministry of Commerce, that the conditions incorporated by TANFINET in the bidding documents were restrictive and discriminatory in nature. Accordingly, the State government was asked to re-invite the bids with non-restrictive qualification criteria, the minister said.

To expedite the implementation of the project, BBNL has been holding meetings with the State government/TANFINET, the minister added.

Last week, State IT Secretary Hans Raj Verma said, “BharatNet project called TamilNet would be rolled out by November to link over 17,000 villages through high-speed broadband connectivity. This will open up tremendous opportunities in rural areas.”

“Our next wave of champions will come from tier-2, tier-3 and small villages. Once we give them the connectivity, they are on par with us,” said Verma at the three-day FinTERACT 2020 conference. The Hindu BusinessLine

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