After the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) expressed its dismay over delay in improving mobile coverage in the Northeast, an Arunachal Pradesh MP has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in speeding up installation of mobile towers in the region.
In a letter to Modi, Congress MP from Arunachal East, Ninong Ering, said it appeared that “vested interests” are bent upon denying mobile connectivity to the people of the Northeast.
Ering cited that there was a delay of 18 months in calling tenders in April 2016 after the Cabinet approval and a further delay of five months even after tenders were evaluated.
He claimed that it appeared that some officials are trying to include ineligible bidders.
The Department of Telecom had last year invited bids for setting up 6,673 towers in 8,621 uncovered villages of eight northeastern states and 321 on National Highways in the region.
Last week, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi wrote to the DoT asking to speed up the process while warning that lack of adequate cellular coverage in the region has “brought a sense of discontentment” among its youth and public who “despite having means are deprived of the benefits of modern means of communication”.
“It is often said that the country is effectively run by bureaucrats. While we have numerous examples of shining officials who are working hard to push India into a pre-eminent position on the world state, there are others who sully the their example by acting unprofessionally,” Ering said.
Describing the region as highly sensitive due to its borders with China and Myanmar, the MP said “there are many places, villages and towns which are yet to be exposed to cellular technology” and urged the prime minister to “personally examine the matter and take strictest action possible to prevent further delays in execution of this crucial project”. Mehrishi, in his letter, had said that an analysis revealed that there are “communication voids” in the areas along the Indo-Myanmar border especially in southern Arunachal Pradesh, south-eastern Nagaland, west and southern Manipur and southern Mizoram.