TELECOM SECRETARY CLEANING THE ROT IN USOF TO KICK-START STALLED PROJECTS

After the unceremonious exit of Sanjay Singh as the Administrator of Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), the purge inside the USOF continues. The latest to face the axe are two senior officials who were close to Sanjay Singh and were allegedly hand-in-glove in scuttling important projects which includes mobile tower projects in North-Eastern states and Naxalism-hit 10 states.

Department of Telecom sources say Telecom Secretary Aruna Sunderarajan is in damage control mode and quickly wants to revive these two key projects which are in top priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And to do this she has decided to clear the rot and bring in efficient officers to kick-start all important projects that are stuck.

There is already much action now inside the Sanchar Bhawan, and with the removal of two DDGs in the USOF — Sudhir Bhandhari and Lalit Gangal — who were reporting to previous Administrator Sanjay Singh, hopes of early clearances to ambitious mobile tower projects in the North-East and Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected states have brightened.

DoT insiders say that the two DDGs have been sidelined as most of the projects initiated by them didn’t pick pace. Telecom Secretary is shunting all those officials who are responsible for delay of many important USOF projects which apart from the North-East and LWE-affected stated include telecom connectivity in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and in states which shares international border like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Last month Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cracked the whip by unceremoniously removing USOF Administrator Sanjay Singh for his incompetence and for repeatedly stalling flagship telecom projects of the Narendra Modi government. As the term of Mr. Modi is coming to an end, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha and Telecom Secretary wants to hand over the two projects to the successful bidders without any further delay so that they can show to the masses that work has finally begun on two key telecom projects.


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