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Mobile networks in Naxal-affected areas in 15 months: Ravi Shankar Prasad

NEW DELHI: Mobile networks are likely to be set up in the Naxal-affected areas in 15 months under the Universal Service Obligation Fund Scheme, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

“Mobile networks under the USOF scheme are likely to be set up in 15 months. Phase VII expansion of BSNL in the states affected by LWE (Left Wing Extremism) is likely to be completed by April 2015,” he said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

Saying that the government is concerned about the coverage and quality of telecommunication services in LWE-affected areas, he added that the government has approved installation of mobile towers at 1,836 locations in the states affected by LWE with funding from USOF.

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has already installed mobile towers at 363 locations. According to the minister, the project cost calculated by the BSNL “through transparent, open tender process is Rs 3,567.58 crore”.

In a meeting in June, the Telecom Commission recommended that the proposal may be placed before the Cabinet for approval.