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Donkupar highlights network woes on border

Donkupar Roy in Shillong on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

Shillong, March 6: Leader of the Opposition Donkupar Roy today said people along the Indo-Bangla border are still using Bangladeshi SIM cards.

He, too, got one such card but refused it because it was illegal, he told the Meghalaya Assembly.

Sharing problems of the people along the international border because of absence of landline telephone and poor network, Roy, who represents Shella constituency bordering Bangladesh, said the people in the border areas were using Bangladesh SIM cards because of poor mobile signal.

"While landline connection is not available, mobile network also is very poor in the border. I also got one Bangladesh SIM card but I refused to use it because I know it is illegal. However, the people in the border area are compelled to use Bangladesh SIM card for communication," Roy said, while asking the government take steps to ensure connectivity in rural areas and those along the international borders.

Interestingly, Roy said he even noticed a BSF jawan using Bangladesh SIM card, during his visit to one of the areas along the international border.

"Once I asked one BSF jawan about the problem, who told me that communicating with his colleagues was very difficult," the leader of the Opposition said.

Meghalaya shares a border that is over 443km with Bangladesh.

Earlier, Indian telecom officials had admitted that owing to geographical proximity, Bangladeshi cell phone networks could be accessed from areas in India that are close to the border by using SIM cards made in the neighbouring country.

Indian security agencies admitted that miscreants could easily access SIM cards of Bangladesh companies like Grameen Phone along the border, and a number of Bangladeshi nationals who managed to enter Indian side could carry out illegal activities by using such cards.

Indian exporters who deal with Bangladesh allegedly use Grameen Phone SIM cards to keep in touch with Bangladeshi importers when they cannot get access from their local mobile phones.

The Union telecom ministry had in the past entrusted its department to take steps to extend cellular services to all villages along the Indo-Bangla border.

In the past, Indian security forces had seized a number of Grameen Phone SIM cards from arrested militants and smugglers as well.

Last year, officials of the BSNL here said the home ministry proposed to set up 56 towers, under the central armed police forces project, in locations close to the border outposts of the BSF along the Indo-bangla border in Meghalaya. The objective of the project is to provide sufficient network to areas that are unreachable.

The detailed project report was prepared by the BSNL at the cost of Rs 72 crore.

At present, BSNL has 242 towers for 2G network and 124 towers for 3G in Meghalaya.


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