900 locations in Bengal lack mobile connectivity

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on February 19, 2014 Published on February 19, 2014

BSNL is expected to put up 400 towers to address connectivity issues in some of these locations

Nearly 900 locations – especially rural areas, hilly terrains and riverine and remote places of West Bengal – still remain out of mobile coverage, according to a report with the West Bengal Government’s IT Department.

Categorised as “shadow zones,” 643 areas (or 72 per cent) fall primarily under the four districts of Purulia (238), Bankura (101) and East and West Midnapore (304).

The other districts, parts of which do not have mobile coverage include Darjeeling (18 locations), Jalpaiguri (37), North Dinajpur (22), South Dinajpur (55), Malda (24), Murshidabad (10), Birbhum (13), Burdwan (14), Nadia (6), North 24-Parganas (4) and South 24-Parganas (8).

In government parlance, a village, region or area that does not fall within 3-km radius of the nearest telecom tower is considered as a “shadow zone” or one where there is no network coverage.

According to sources in the IT department, the list (of shadow zones) was received from the TERM (Telecom Enforcement and Resource Monitoring) cell of the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The assessment was made after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked the State IT Department in January to identify and address connectivity issues across parts of the State where there were insufficient or no mobile network coverage.

Corrective Measures

Confirming the development, SC Tewary, Principal Secretary, State IT and Electronics Department, said corrective measures were under way.

According to him, BSNL is expected to put up 400 towers to address connectivity issues in some of these locations. BSNL is likely to complete the installation of these towers by May this year.

“Meetings have been taken up with BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) and other telecom operators and tower companies to address the situation,” he said on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Other private operators have also been asked to look into the matter and put up BTS’ (base transreceiver stations) where necessary to improve coverage.

Published on February 19, 2014
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