The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 19 , 2014
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Bengal to strengthen remote area links

Partha Chatterjee (centre) with Microsoft IT India MD Raj Biyani (left) and IT secretary Satish Tewary in Calcutta on Tuesday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, Feb. 18: The Bengal government is making efforts to bring remote areas of the state under mobile network coverage.

“While this will enhance communication, any kind of information, be it B2C (business to consumer), or G2C (government to citizen), can be efficiently passed on. This will also help in speedy delivery of citizen-centric services,” said Bengal IT minister Partha Chatterjee.

On January 9, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had issued a directive to identify “shadow areas” in the state, which do not receive proper mobile coverage. Based on the directive, the state IT department has started an initiative under which top officials met leading telecom operators on January 22.

The officials identified 893 villages listed by the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring cell, under the department of telecommunications, as areas that lack coverage. They have requested the operators to consider these areas as viable business options and make them a part of their expansion plan.

“BSNL said they have their own plan to set up base transceiver stations in 400 locations in Bengal to strengthen network. We will do a follow-up meeting again with the operators,” said Satish Tewary, principal secretary of the IT department.

The note by the chief minister stated that a large area was not covered by mobile telephone towers or there was very poor connectivity.

“It is, therefore, essential to identify such areas and take all necessary action to bring them under quality mobile connectivity coverage,” the note said.

Microsoft plan

Chatterjee said Microsoft India had expressed interest to set up a centre of excellence in Bengal and the state government was ready to accommodate the company and extend help. Both the parties are working out the details of the deal.