Economy

DoT writes to CSC for sub-standard work in BharatNet project

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on July 16, 2021

CSC says it follows all protocols

The Prime Minister’s dream project, BharatNet, which has been going through hiccups for years, seems to be running into blame-game again — the latest being the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) complaining against the Common Service Centre-Special Purpose Vehicle (CSC-SPV) field units for ‘substandard workmanship’.

In a letter dated July 13, the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the DoT has written to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of CSC saying, “As per reports received from various State units of Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL), the standard practices of laying are not being followed while carrying out corrective maintenance work by CVLEs (CSC village level entrepreneurs).”

Meanwhile, the COO of CSC, Abhishek Singh had resigned last month and is serving the notice period till the end of this month. As per sources, he wants to start a business of his own.

The government had given the task of repair and maintenance to CSC in 2018 as a pilot project for 5,000 gram panchayats (GPs) and when it was satisfied, it gave the bigger project of repair and maintenance of 1.18 lakh GPs to CSC in 2019.

BBNL’s concerns

The development comes after BBNL wrote a letter to DoT on June 29 saying the CSC people are not using proper OFC Joint Closure/Chambers while restoring 24 Core OFC faults (less than 500 metre) and all 24 fibres were not being spliced.

“For preventive maintenance also, efforts should be made by CSC-SPV to protect the BharatNet cables from damages while execution of development works by other agencies like NHAI, Jal Board, etc,” the DoT letter said.

The DoT has requested to look into the matter/take remedial action and submit a detailed report within the next 15 days.

When contacted Dinesh Tyagi, Managing Director, CSC told BusinessLine that there are a lot of work involved in the BharatNet project by various agencies and companies including BSNL.

“We follow all the protocols and the VLEs have all the equipment to check the faulty parts. But, it is the companies who are laying the cables who are not checking regularly…there are many places where there are still not battery or solar power installed,” Tyagi said.

He said CSC has taken care of 90,000 GPs out of the 1.18 GPs in the BharatNet project and are well maintained. “If CSC is dropped from this project, then these 1.18 GPs will be left to square one,” Tyagi added.

Published on July 16, 2021

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