BSNL should connect 1 lakh Gram Panchayats with broadband: Manoj Sinha
New Delhi: Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha today gave a stern message to BSNL that he will not tolerate any delay and the Telecom PSU should connect one lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) to set up a network infrastructure to serve the rural masses.
Sinha said all are working with zeal to achieve the target of connecting 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats with Broadband Network within stipulated timeframe, which is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Digital India.
Sinha was speaking at an award function of BSNL here. He urged the BSNL to go for new inventions, new research and new technology and to give World Class products to achieve Prime Minister’s vision of Transforming India through the Digital Revolution. He said that there is need for innovation as India cannot afford to emulate the Developed Economies due to paucity of resources. If India continued to lag behind instead of catching up with emerging technologies, the very existence of the country will be at stake, he said and exhorted the officials and other stakeholders to “Walk the Talk”. He also underlined that it is our bounden duty to digitally empower the huge chunk of population particularly in rural areas.
Sinha asked BSNL officers and employees to set an ambitious target of 15 percent Telecom penetration within a time frame from the existing 10.4 percent and asked the PSU compete with other big Telecom Operators as BSNL is now equipped with new technology, dedicated work force, equipment and financial resources. He also expressed concern that despite the worldwide trend, the number of landline connections in India is decreasing every day and BSNL should think seriously about this issue.
Without improving its service quality, BSNL cannot ensure the success of Plan-49 or Plan-II-49 or give connection at Rs 49. Under these two plans, BSNL is offering calls free on Sunday and also from 9.00 pm to 7 am each day and the Telco PSU is also providing Broadband connectivity at cheaper rates. He asked BSNL to resolve all the complaints promptly and said any reluctance on this front will not be tolerated.
Sinha said that the Country is on the verge of Data Revolution, and if India lags behind on this front, history will not forgive us. He said, it is easy to befool through jugglery of data and facts, but ultimately work should speak for itself.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Telecom J.S.Deepak said that it is a matter of pride that since April, 2015, BSNL has resgisterd operating profit and it is gaining market share on a regular basis but it should work hard to become a global giant. Referring to connectivity initiatives in North East, Left Wing Extremist areas, where 2200 towers were installed for better connectivity for the security forces and for the rural masses living in the remotest areas, Deepak said that in the 2nd phase 2,000 additional towers will be installed in the naxal-hit areas. He also called for performance audit of the PSU from time to time.
In his address, the CMD of BSNL Anupam Srivastav said that the revenue of BSNL in 2015-16 was Rs 28,450 crore, which is 4.4 percent more than the revenue in the year 2014-15. He assured the Minister that BSNL is ready to compete tariff to tariff with any Telecom Operator and also called for collaborative efforts where the country’s interest is involved.
Srivastav said that due to paucity of instruments and equipment between 2006 and 2012, BSNL missed the voice bus, but in the last two years several initiatives have been taken to bridge the gap and BSNL now is ready for any challenge. In this financial year 20,000 additional towers will be installed by BSNL, he announced.