The newly-established solar-powered mobile phone towers in Jharkhand’s Naxal-hit areas are empowering security forces as well as tribals and helping to counter the influence of extremists. Not only have they improved the movement of security forces but also allowed them to more effectively neutralise Naxals who had created a reign of terror in the area.
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“Earlier, Naxals would demolish cellphone towers or cut their power supply, thereby hampering communication in the entire area. Now, CRPF provides round-the-clock security to these towers which are solar-powered,” Assistant Commandment, CRPF, Matlong Krishna Choubey said. These newly-established towers are powered through solar energy and the batteries can supply power for at least a week in a single charge, he said.
They are inter-connected with other towers through a latest wireless technology and provide signals in a radius of five kilometres. “The movement of CRPF troops are effective now due to the establishment of these cellphone towers. Our informers are now able to provide us vital information regarding movement of Naxals who have largely been neutralised here in Latehar,” Chaubey said.
The establishment of these cellphone towers is hailed as a major victory against Naxals who never wanted the villagers and the government to connect. Locals said that in some parts of Latehar district, they can even surf internet in 4G speed and complete their net-related works through smartphones. However, most parts are connected through 2G services as of now.
“We can fill job related forms and access government schemes through our cellphones. These solar-powered cell phones come handy,” a local resident Shiv Yadav said. As part of the NDA government’s ambitious plan to strengthen communication flow in tribals and Naxalite areas in India, state-run telecom service provider BSNL has established as many as 2199 solar-powered mobile phone towers in 10 Naxal-infested states.
The programme was given a go ahead in 2014 by the government. The 2,199 towers were to be set up before December 2016 and the work has already been completed.