Centre grants 1,202 BSNL towers for Uttarakhand


With mobile connectivity and internet services having remained a major concern for Uttarakhand, especially in the hill districts and pockets near the international borders of China and Nepal, chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami during his visit to Delhi on Saturday, met Union minister for railways & information technology Ashwini Vaishnaw and raised the issue with him.

Following this, as per a communique from the CM's office, the Union minister approved 1,202 BSNL towers in Uttarakhand, each of which would cost Rs 1 crore. Besides, Dhami also requested for more trains to strengthen the connectivity within and outside the state.

According to officials, the towers project would benefit 1,202 villages which are yet to be covered under mobile 4G services. Of the total number, there are 28 such villages in Almora, 97 in Bageshwar, 124 in Chamoli, 104 in Champawat, 56 in Dehradun, 196 in Pauri, six in Haridwar, 60 in Nainital, 245 in Pithoragarh, 20 in Rudraprayag, 114 in Tehri, three in Udham Singh Nagar and 148 in Uttarkashi. Officials added that districts like Chamapwat, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Chamoli which share their borders with neighbouring countries like Nepal and China, will benefit the most.

The state government has already eased the norms for companies installing mobile towers. In a recent meeting, the state cabinet had announced nominal charges for cell phone firms installing towers in Uttarakhand.

The move is aimed to improve the mobile phone and internet connectivity in the state and also speed up the tower installation process, officials said. According to the changes made, Rs 50,000 would be taken in areas under development authorities, Rs 25,000 under nagar panchayat, Rs 10,000 in other plain areas and only Rs 5,000 in the hills. "Mobile connectivity has remained a major concern for the past many years. The Union and the state governments have been working in this direction and as a result, a major step has been taken by the Centre today. The move will benefit internet and mobile services in remote, far-flung areas and pockets that are close to international borders," the CM said on Saturday.

Dhami requested the Union minister for the start of Jan Shatabdi train service between Tanakpur and Dehradun. He said that at present, there is only one train service running between Dehradun and Kathgodam to connect Kumaon and Garhwal.

Dhami also requested making the Tanakpur-Bageshwar railway line a broad gauge line, Haridwar-Dehradun rail line a double lane, modernisation of Harrawala rail station, Rishikesh-Uttarkashi rail line and Kichha-Khatima rail line.

Vaishnaw gave in- principle consent to most of these projects, the CMO said.