The launch of the first public Wi-Fi zone of city at Sector 43 Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT-43) has hit a roadblock with the transport department raising objection over the implementation of the project without its approval.
ISBT-43 is under the control of the transport department. Transport director Amit Talwar has written to the department of information technology (IT) seeking details of the project.
The IT officials have been asked to explain why the transport department was not involved in the project. The IT department has also been asked to provide details of the tendering process and the company hired for the project. After several failed attempts, the IT department has managed to set up a public Wi-Fi zone.
The system has been set up by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the government-owned telecommunication company, and is operational. The IT department was forced to rope in BSNL after it failed to attract private firms despite repeated tenders.
Director IT Prince Dhawan said the system is operational. “The system is ready and we are just waiting to launch it officially,” said Dhawan. He said they will respond to the queries of the transport department.
According to the officials, users will be able to avail the Wi-Fi service in a radius of at least 100m with the minimum bandwidth of 2Mbps on any Wi-Fi enabled devices such as laptops, cellphones and tablets. The users can avail at least 20 minutes of free internet usage at ISBT-43. The IT department is planning to set up Wi-Fi zone at Sector 17 ISBT and other public places.
Director transport Amit Talwar said that the project was implemented without the mandatory approval of the department. He further said they are waiting for the response.
Project marred by delays The IT department had first floated tenders for the project in 2014 and had selected five locations in the city for the Wi-Fi zones – Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminal, Sector 43 ISBT, Sector 17 Plaza, Sector 22 market and Sukhna Lake.
The project was scrapped after the UT failed to attract bidders despite repeated attempts. The department then floated tenders in 2015 as part of efforts to transform Chandigarh into a WI-Fi city, but only two companies responded, one less than the required for implementation of the project.
In March 2016, they had invited tenders for setting up the wireless networking technology at three locations – Sukhna Lake, Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park and the Sector 17 Plaza. Only one company showed interest. According to the general finance rules, a minimum of three companies are required to apply for a project, of which work is allocated to one on merit.