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Poor mobile connectivity mars LWE affected areas of State

 Security personnel as well as civilians in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas of the State are having a tough time in getting mobile connectivity due to call congestion and failure of traffic.

In fact, at far flung Maoist infested areas of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Kalahandi and other zones, poor network of Mobile towers is posing a grave problem for general public and security forces to even talk over handsets. Accordingly, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi has drawn the attention of Union Secretary Home Affairs, Rajiv Mehrishi about the nagging problem.

Under Left Wing Extremist (LWE) Scheme of the Department of Telecommunications, Centre had allotted 253 BSNL mobile towers for Odisha.  Out of sanctioned 253 mobile towers so far, only 162 were commissioned through V-SAT Media with only 512 Kbps bandwidth and 91 through Mini-Link. The chief secretary, in his letter has pointed out that only 10-15 mobile phones are able to operate at a time in such tower areas.

This is causing hardship to both public and security personnel to keep contact with others because of call congestion and failure of traffic in almost all the V-SAT sites.  It is further pointed out that because of low coverage, no data or Internet facilities is available in such V-SAT areas. As the bandwidth available in V-SAT sites is not sufficient to operationalize online services it is also difficult to carry out digital transactions.

In this backdrop,  Padhi has requested Union Secretary Mehrishi  to take up the matter with Department of Telecommunication for enhancement of the bandwidth from 512 Kbps to 2 Mbps. It is further pointed out that BSNL has already enhanced bandwidth from 512 Kbps to at least 2 Mbps in Maoist prone areas of some other states.

If it is not enhanced in Odisha the entire expenditure on the tower infrastructure would be rendered infructuous. Time and again, Odisha is drawing the attention of Union Government for setting up of all the allotted BSNL mobile towers and to ensure that all the far flung and remote areas of the State, more particularly the Maoist prone zone, are connected with mobile phones and uninterrupted internet facilities.

Notably, during last 12 years around 1,000 incidents of Maoist violence have been recorded in the State.  During this period at least 190 security personnel and 260 common people are killed by Maoist. In retaliation through combing operation security personnel have also killed about 150 Maoist during this period.  As per official information during last 12 years security personnel were able to arrest at least 1,500 Maoist while more than 400 of such Left Wing Extremists (LWE) cadre have surrendered before police.

Security experts are of the view that both road and mobile connectivity in the Maoist prone area is essential for the benefit of both common people as well as security personnel.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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