Telecom Ministry clears project for setting up mobile towers in Naxal-affected States
The government has swung into action to beef up security in Naxal affected States after top Chhattisgarh Congress leaders including several people were killed in recent Naxal attacks. In one such step, the telecom ministry has decided to fast-track the ambitious project of setting up 2,199 mobile towers in nine Naxal-affected States, a move that would give operational advantage to security forces while dealing with the menace of Left Wing Extremism (LWE). The project has been long delayed mainly due to costing issues.
The proposed towers will be set up in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Central armed police forces as well as State police have been demanding setting up of mobile towers to aid them in executing operations against the Naxals more effectively. The project is expected to commence within next few months by the State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Of the total amount, Rs.1,469 crore would go for setting up of 2,199 cellular towers, while around Rs.1,600 crore would be spent on operating these towers over the next 5 years.