Villages Cry For Net

While Union Government is moving fast forward for Digital Governance in the country, with nearly 50 Percent villages having low internet connecitivity and little mobile coverage the Odisha Government is facing tough time in this regard.

Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha talked to the top Brass of State Administration on the issue of Digital Governance. Mr.Sinha said that there has been substantial progress on e-Governance front and it is expected that the State Government will take up the matter in a time bound manner.

Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Principal Secretary Electronics & Information Technology (DoiT), Pradeep Kumar Jena, Special Secretary General Administration and Finance, Ashok Kumar Meena and several District Collectors participated in the Video Conference.

While the Union Government is harping on Digital Governance, Odisha having over 70 Percent Rural Zones with much less internet penetration. Miles and miles in far flung rural areas there are hardly any internet facilities and  Mobile towers.

Out of over 51000 villages, 15235 villages have no Mobile Towers so mobile connectivity is not there and some times people in the hilly region move to the hill top for talking to their near and dear with mobile, staying in outside the state.

Over 12,000 villages are there, which face low data connectivity, where one can talk in mobile, but can not upload or downlaod any data.

So with such a huge number of villages having little net connecitivity and mobile penetration, State Government has asked the Centre to improve the facility with infusing funds for more coverage.

However Union Government is non commital over the issue, resulting an impasse over the situation.

While Union Government planned to cover 15 districts through under ground optic fibre facilties and after four years out of 3800 Gram Panchayats only 424 Gram Panchayats have been covered.
Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) has assigned the job to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).PGCIL is going slow over the project, pointed out a senior official of the State Government.

The State Government has repeatedly brought it to the notice of the Government of India and several times new dates have been promised to complete the under ground coverage of optic fibre  by PGCIL, said sources.

Now the State Government has decided to go for over ground optic fibre facilites in rest of the 15 districts, where electric poles will be utilized for such facilites.

OPTCL has been assigned the job to prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and once the DPR is ready then the State Government will approach the Centre for funding the project.

Once OPTCL finalizes the DPR, the project will be completed within two years, said sources.

Seven State Governments including Odisha, Tamilnadu and West Bengal have adopted for such type of over ground optic fibre by making use of power lines.  Andhra Pradesh has taken the lead in this regard.

 “It is a low-cost and quicker way of laying the OFC network to offer broadband services to the villages”, said the senior officer.

 Ultimately, it will be a mix of underground cables, over ground network and also wireless network to take broadband connectivity to the villages,” he said. 

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