As the term of 16th Lok Sabha nears completion, one MP whose persistent fight to get his State enjoy seamless mobile coverage remained inconclusive is Arunachal Pradesh’s Ninong Ering. In a parting note to Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, Mr. Ering says it is painful to realise that DoT could not deliver justice to the deprived people of Northeastern States, particularly Arunachal Pradesh, by not implementing Narendra Modi government’s flagship telecom project — Telecom Development Plan for North-Eastern Region, writes Sandeep Joshi


Ninong Ering

NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 24, 2019: Ninong Ering, Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh, has again knocked the doors of Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha for speedy implementation of Northeast telecom project covering eight states, including his native state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Mr. Ering has written a letter to Mr. Sinha, and urged for speedy execution of Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern Region (NER) which promises to provide network connectivity in the uncovered villages and the remote areas of the region. Mr Sinha has also been urged to clear the hurdles of the project and ask BSNL to start the rollout without wasting any further time.

“People of Arunachal Pradesh are looking at me with very high hopes…People of Arunachal Pradesh would remain indebted to you and Prime Minister Narendra Modi if this project will see the light of the day and we will get connectivity. We cannot afford any further delays on this matter, as it being of utmost importance to my region. I therefore, request you to look into the matter and take suitable action as required,” Mr. Ering said in the letter to the Telecom Minister.

Mr. Erring further said: “I have noticed even in the last session of 16th Lok Sabha and the last day of our Parliament, MPs raised the issue of uncovered villages and telecom network to remote areas of this country. Throughout I have been raising the voice of my constituency in the august house of our Parliament. Bearing in mind that post this Parliament session the entire country will go for general election so are you and me, but each day ahead would immensely be painful to realise that together we could not deliver justice to the deprived people of AP.”

Almost five years ago, when Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India, he promised to give telecom connectivity to the North-East Region (NER). In August 2014, the Cabinet gave nod to implement Northeast–I, a Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan, with an idea to put 2,817 towers in 4,119 villages of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

The project was to be completed in December 2018 at an estimated cost of Rs. 1975.38 crores. BSNL was selected to roll out its services in parts of Northeast, while remaining was given to Bharti Airtel, baring one state.

Last year in December 2018, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha revealed in the Parliament that no mobile towers were installed within the 10-kilometer distance of Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. Only 1,511 mobile towers have been installed within 10 kilometers of 5,182-kilometers long international border in the North-East in more than 3 years, according to the data shared by the Telecom Minister.

Out of the total towers installed on the international border, 1,373 mobile towers have been put up along India-Bangladesh border, 48 have been placed on India-Bhutan border and 90 have been located around India-Myanmar border and not a single tower was fixed on India-China border.

Last month Prime Minister Narendra Modi had removed USOF Administrator Sanjay Singh for his ineffectiveness and causing much delay to the PM’s flagship project.

While PMO along with Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha is making every possible effort to start the implementation of the project as soon as possible, it looks quite difficult for the PM to flaunt his flagship project NER telecom project in its report to the country’s citizen during the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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