Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Lok Sabha that the government was concerned about the coverage and quality of telecommunication services in left-wing extremism affected areas.

A proposal to install mobile towers at 1,836 locations in states affected by left-wing extremism with funding support from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) has already been approved.

"Mobile networks under the USOF scheme are likely to be set up in 15 months," Prasad said during Question Hour.

Bharat Sancahr Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has installed mobile towers at 363 locations for which financial support to meet operational expenses would be provided through USOF.

According to the Minister, the project cost discovered by BSNL for setting up mobile towers in the naxal-affected states is "Rs 3,567.58 crore" through transparent and open tender process.

"In its meeting held on June 13, 2014, the Telecom Commission recommended that the proposal may be placed before the Union Cabinet for approval," he said.

Besides, BSNL is implementing Phase VII of its mobile network expansion by installing Base Transreceiver Stations (BTSs) for 2G services and Node B for 3G services.

"Phase VII expansion of BSNL in the states affected by left-wing extremism is likely to be completed by April 2015," Prasad said.

He also noted that there was no proposal by BSNL to take over network assets/infrastructure of other existing service providers.


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