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MHA meet on anti-maoist strategy: Odisha to demand removal of limited mobile link scheme

The state government claims that the mobile network in Maoist-affected districts like Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada is unreliable and insufficient for the local population.

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar |
May 8, 2017 4:33:05 am
naveen patnaik, Naveen patnaik odisha, odisha CM, BJD chief, Odisha limited mobile link scheme, maoists. anti maoist strategy, sukma, indian express, india news Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik/

When the Chief Ministers of 10 Maoist-affected states deliberate on a strategy to counter the rebels at a meeting in New Delhi on Monday, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik will seek removal of a scheme providing limited mobile service in Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected areas.

The state government claims that the mobile network in Maoist-affected districts like Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada is unreliable and insufficient for the local population.

Since 2014, LWE-affected areas have been allowed limited mobile connectivity under the MHA scheme. Data connectivity, too, is limited.

A senior home department official said that 253 BSNL towers were allotted to Odisha under the scheme for LWE-affected areas. Of the 253 locations, 81 are in police stations and 172 in revenue villages. “Most of the sites are fitted with low-power transreceiver units between 2 watt and 10 watt power, limiting mobile coverage. Normal transreceiver units emit 20 watt power. The coverage area of the mobile towers is hardly 3 km. The basic purpose of such towers in Maoist areas is defeated because of low coverage. They serve security camps and not common people in adjoining areas,” said the official.

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Odisha will also raise the issue of low bandwidth — 162 of the 253 BSNL towers have limited broadband of 512 kbps.

Officials said that connectivity was also affected due to congestion, call drops and artificial traffic due to multiple call attempts. “The services in the present form are not sufficient for people in LWE-affected areas. Digital India initiatives demand good quality services,” said the home department official. Common service centres, Aadhaar-based authentication services, digital payments, connectivity in schools and hospitals, e-gov applications, banking services and social media applications require at least 4-8 mbps bandwidth, apart from voice call service.

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