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PMO concerned about delay in telecom infrastructure projects in the Northeast

July 15, 2019
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The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has reportedly expressed concerns over the delay in the implementation of critical telecom infrastructure projects in the Northeast and has given instructions to hasten the projects that are estimated to cost more than Rs 53 billion.

According to industry sources, the projects in the Northeast include one tendered through state-run operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and the other by a government agency, which has been further allocated to the Bharti Group. These projects envisage provision of mobile coverage to 8,621 villages, installation of 321 mobile tower sites, and strengthening of transmission network in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

However, while the project being undertaken by the Bharti Group has witnessed some progress, the one allotted to BSNL covering Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam, and worth Rs 22.5 billion is still languishing with years of delay. The principal secretary in the PMO had recently chaired a meeting to review the progress under the project.

Further, the PMO said that since no stay had been granted by the Supreme Court on a special leave petition regarding work in the Northeast, the delay in implementation of the project was avoidable.

The matter will now be taken up by the Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the highest decision-making body in the telecom sector.

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