R40 lakh incentive for mobile towers in select Uttarakhand border villages
The policy decision has been taken with a strategic objective to provide mobile connectivity in border villages.Updated: Sep 05, 2020, 12:47 IST
Uttarakhand government has decided to offer incentives of up to ₹40 lakh to telecom companies for installing mobile signal towers in ‘dark’ villages of the state in an attempt to boost mobile phone connectivity, said officials. The decision was taken during the state Cabinet meeting led by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Friday.
Dark villages are those situated in remote areas, without mobile phone and internet connectivity. There are over 200 such dark villages in the state, especially in the districts of Pithoragarh, Chamoli and Uttarkashi, bordering China and Nepal.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an official privy to the development, said, “The decision was taken after amending the Information & Communication Technology and Electronics Policy of the state to facilitate installation of mobile signal towers in such villages by telecom companies.”
He informed that it was decided last year during a meeting on the policy, in the presence of CM Rawat, to attract investment from telecom companies by offering them an incentive of 30% of the total cost of project or ₹50lakh, whichever is less, in case they install mobile signal towers in remote areas.
“The aforementioned policy was amended on Friday, clearing an incentive of ₹40 lakh or 30% of the total cost of the project, whichever is less, for telecom companies,” the official said.
HT had earlier reported that villagers in the hill districts bordering Nepal are using SIM cards of Nepalese telecom companies as their signals are stronger in their area in comparison to the signal strength of phone service provided by Indian telecom companies.
The official added that the decision was also strategic in nature considering the recent border tensions with Nepal and China, countries, with which Uttarakhand shares borders.
Cabinet minister and government spokesperson Madan Kaushik refused to reveal much on the development, saying “There have been certain decisions taken during the Cabinet meeting on the telecom sector, which are related to policy matters.”
He added that any announcement on policy decisions will be done in the approaching assembly session as per the tradition.